Author's Note: My father worked as a journalist in Prague and published two books on Czech politics. He spoke six languages and sometimes even cooked (sort of) when my mother was otherwise engaged.
My Father Cooks a Meal
My mother went for calisthenics on Tuesday nights. My father cooked for me, usually hot dogs, which he did quite well. I complimented him on his cooking, and I thought he beamed at me with great pride. Later he told the story at a gathering of friends, and they laughed like it was the funniest thing anyone had ever heard. He boiled the water just so, laid each hot dog carefully in a pre-sliced bun. We’d have potato chips, pickles, sauerkraut, mustard, ketchup, horseradish sauce. The man was a genius with fork and a couple of jars. After a while he’d offer me his stein and a sip of beer, which always tasted ice cold and bitter as hell.
From the Mist
The sky hangs thin and wet on its clothesline. Ted Kooser My parents walk slowly from the mist. I can’t say they are strolling as that implies leisure and pleasure, but their steps are firm, unhurried, and as near as I can tell, free from pain. Not slow motion exactly and not the kind of gliding you might expect from ghosts. In their faces I see unaccustomed calm, as though they had finished a good meal, cleaned the kitchen, and now are off to bed. Our eyes meet, but they say nothing, not tonight, as if there would always be time for whatever words we might need, as if the sky had not already disappeared, along with the trees and the silent road.
©2021 Steve Klepetar
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