My dad liked his potato salad with gravy. The potato salad came out of the fridge, especially since it had lots of creamy mayo. It was cold. And he liked it poured over with hot gravy. Like if the potatoes were hot and mixed with butter and milk. But they weren’t. They were cold. With mayo and raw onions and cooked eggs.
Everyone, other than him, thought it was pretty gross.
But it was Dad’s thing. Potato salad with gravy. It got to be so much a thing that when Mom made potato salad to accompany, say, burgers on the grill–served with condiments right from the fridge, like ketchup and yellow mustard and pickle relish and sliced onions and tomatoes–she would sometimes magic up some gravy for Dad. If you cooked, you know that there was some serious magic going on to make gravy when the meat was on the grill. And, by the way, Mom NEVER opened a can or jar of “gravy.” That gummy shit is a poor excuse for gravy. Even for potato salad.
Anyway, today, The Spouse asked me if I wanted to go to the auto store to get the battery for the Mini replaced. It was on warranty, and the Mini was frequently on no-go. I said yes.
The Spouse poked his head in the bathroom–I NEVER get any privacy around here–a few minutes later to admit that the errand was extremely dull and wondered why I would go. I said I’d go because I wanted to hang out. I gave The Beast a treat, and, along with the promise of new wiper blades for my car, we went to the auto store.
Me, being the clever Doc that I am, figured out the correct wiper blades and waited for The Spouse. And, while waiting, discovered that there was a yet to be tried brewery a mere four minutes drive away. Clearly, this was not going to be an extremely dull errand.
While at the beer makery, I spied the BBQ truck. The Spouse left the flights behind to have a tour of yet another set of stainless steel vats. I went to get the grub on the street from the truck.
As I studied the offerings chalked on the side of the truck, the very pleasant attendant asked if I had their BBQ Pearl.
“No,” I said.
“People really like it. It sounds weird but it’s the most popular. We layer mac and cheese with baked beans and pulled pork.”
“I know it’s weird, me not you, but I don’t really like mac and cheese.”
To her enormous credit, she did not make a disparaging face.
“Now, if it was like potato salad and beans and pork, I’d like that alot better.”
“I can make that!”
I realized I was channeling my Dad. The idea of hearty, hot food on top of potato salad was like gravy. And I said, “Yes.” I ate it as my Dad. And it was good.
I miss my Dad every day. Today I felt like I connected across the the lands of the living and the lands of those who have left. Over potato salad. And baked beans. And pulled pork.