My Sunday Nights

May 1, 2019

My Sunday Nights

sunday dinner

Mark Rubin

In February 2016 my mom spent several days and nights in the hospital. She’d had a major abdominal insult in 2002. Then, no one expected her to live through the night; we certainly didn’t think she’d be alive and thriving in early 2016.

When the hospital said, “Go home,” the doctor said, “You really need to focus on what you eat.” Lean proteins. Fresh vegetables. No more chazzerai. In English? No more junk food.

I couldn’t do an everyday cooking thing, but I could carve out Sunday nights for my mom and her BFF / LOML Irwin. And I did! Without fail, just about.

Something grilled. Veggies. And roasted potatoes. Max joined me, too. He and Reilly—Rochelle and Irwin’s standard poodle—got on well, and Rochelle let Max be Max, even when, very early on, he decided to let Reilly know who owned the drapes.

After a few months I got what I’d been expecting for weeks: the call for something different. The conversation went something like this:

You know, I can eat other things. Pizza. Anything. (I’ve been making pizzas for 45 years, well.)

Sorry. Doctor’s orders.

Those were suggestions. And I feel pretty good!

You’re right. Eat whatever you want. Any night but Sunday!!!

On I rocked. Sticking to what the doctor talked about. And then she passed on October 22, 2016, 5151 days after the initial incident in 1982.

Now, Sundays include Irwin, Reilly, Max, and me. I cook, still, although we do go out from time to time … if from time to time means no more than a half a dozen times a year. (We’ve been on for Sunday nights, without skipping a beat, since Rochelle passed.)

The drill begins with Max piddling. Outside. Trash to the edge of the driveway. Fill the bottled water fridges. (Two of them.) Then, cocktails and a plate of veggies or cheese and crackers. Irwin? Ketel One on the rocks with three blue cheese olives. Me? Rear Admiral Joseph’s London Dry Gin, chilled, up. And chat. Catching up. Some old stories, although they mostly come during dinner.

Then, dinner (or, as Irwin calls it, supper.) The South offers up a meat-and-three. Meat, plus three side dishes. Choices, mostly, but that’s a restaurant thing. At home, I’m guessing the meat-and-three gets called “here’s your dinner!”


Sunday Dinner

So Irwin’s meat-and-three includes, going counter-clockwise, a freshly grilled burger, joined by broccoli, Tater Tots ©, and Heinz Chili Sauce. Your four basic food groups: cow, green, fried potatoes, and Fancy-Ass ketchup. And my dinner? Tots and broccoli. Not so much for me the recently deceased proteins.

Pie ends the evening. None for me, thanks, but Sprouts makes a mean fruit pie. Way better than the fancy-dancy grocers, and for way less money.

Sundays are my best night. I love and adore my partner / law partner LB, and she and Irwin and have a great relationship. Sundays, though, are PBS Brit nights for her, so she joins us rarely. But, and I’m a Slow Go when it comes to relationship stuff, I think she knows these are nights that matter most for Irwin and me. We both know how TIVO works, if you get my drift. (Actually, I don’t know how TIVO works, but I know Leigh does.)

Irwin’s got great stories. He grew up blessed in LA. But for nights spent with grandparents, he can thank FDR for his first night spent away from his extended family. He served in the Philippines and South Korea, and those experiences formed him. And we can thank President Roosevelt and his successor, Harry S Truman, for their respective roles in protecting the United States of America from foreign enemies, and for giving us—unintentionally—Irwin Sattinger and the rest of the Greatest Generation.

Concluding, Irwin approved my sharing the picture of his dinner plate, and my writing about our Sundays. I don’t get personal often … but can anyone find anything original to say about the world we inhabit? Our lives may be all we have left to write about.

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