Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Baron, Part III

As Etta got older, Jack liked getting away from home more and more. It was a mixed bag because he worried about his mother, but on the other hand, neither one of them drove, and Etta didn’t have the same appetite for recreational activities as she used to. Jack was very high energy, and let’s face it, Etta had her circle of friends in the condo complex, and her daughter Ruth close by (Rita and Jacks’ sister), but there wasn’t much in the way of activities for Jack.

I lived by the beach, as did Rita and my siblings, so there were a host of people to entertain Jack and places to take him out and about……Mr. High Society.

Jack came down to the beach one particular weekend in October. We had just learned that my paternal grandmother Margaret, had geriatric leukemia. She was in the hospital getting transfusions. From what I remember that was basically the way that type of leukemia was treated. She never got chemotherapy, just transfusions every few months, and lived a pretty normal life for about 3 more years, dying at 93.

Jack always referred to my paternal grandparents as Mr. & Mrs. ___, and loved them to death. They loved him too, and used to invite Jack to their farm in Massachusetts when they were younger. I told Jack, that we could go see my grandfather, Joseph, after dinner and visit for a while. Remember, Jack loves to socialize. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are.

It was a Friday night, Jack helped me make dinner, and one of his favorite things in the whole wide world was coffee…real coffee….with caffeine. And if he could sit around and chit chat with a bunch of women, all the better. Etta didn’t drink coffee so Jack had one cup of instant decaf every morning. That was it. But, when Jack came to my house, he knew we had the real deal.

That evening we had a serious issue. Do you remember the old perculators? And do you remember the Maxwell House commercial that showed the glass knob on top, and the music would go “blup blup blub” as the coffee bubbled up(with rhythm of course)? Jack loved it, and because I loved Jack, I usually used my Corning ware perculator just for him. God how he loved watching that coffee perk! Oh, and it was caffeinated coffee….Etta be damned!

Did you notice I said “I usually use my Corning ware perculator”? That’s because that particular night I couldn’t find the glass knob that fits in the lid. I made the coffee in my Mr. Coffeemaker instead. Jack was ok with that, but asked if we could go to Sav-On’s after visiting my grandfather, and see if they have the replacement part.

I said yes, if he promised to say “no thank you” to any offers of refreshments from my grandfather, we could stop and pick up a Marie Calendar pie to take home, and have with some freshly perked coffee. I didn’t want my grandfather waiting on us. We weren’t staying long, but I knew he’d offer, and Jack is not above jumping at the chance to have a little snack….even though we just had dinner.

Everything was settled. My husband gave the four kids their baths and got them ready for bed while Jack and I went over my Grandfather’s house.

As we were walking up the sidewalk, Jack said “Poor Mrs. _____”.

I said, “I know, Jack, but let’s not talk about it in front of Mr._____ because he’s not taking it well.”

As I rang the door bell, you won’t believe what Jack said! He looks at me and said. “I wonder if he knows she’s a goner?”

We didn’t stay long, thank God! Joseph was doing OK. He talked to Margaret on the phone, and she was in good spirits. All was well.

I was proud of Jack keeping his zipper shut and not saying anything to upset Joseph. He wouldn’t intentionally hurt him, it’s just that Jack thrived on that kind of thing, and loved to talk about sickness, funerals, and hospitals.

As a side note, we had a code that we used to get Jack to put a plug in it, or zip it. We would look at him and say, “ PRESSURE COOKER”. Use your imagination….and I won’t have to tell you about the time Jack was at Rita’s and Rita was cooking corned beef in her pressure cooker, and that there was a malfunction, and the lid to the pressure cooker ended up stuck in the ceiling. Nope, I can’t tell you that story. Because Jack’s already told the whole world. And when it’s time to shut up…we remind him by saying PRESSURE COOKER.

We went to Sav-On’s and got a glass knob for the perculator, and then we stopped off at Marie Calendars and got a nice French Apple pie.

When we got home, the kids are all upstairs in bed. My husband was asleep on the couch with the TV on. I started to make the coffee, and Jack asked me if he should wake up my husband, who for the sake of this story is named Fred. I told Jack to let Fred sleep until the coffee was done. Well, Jack wasn’t very patient….he paced back and forth between the kitchen and the family room. Finally, I told him he could wake Fred up.

The next thing I heard was Fred scream….he came staggering into the kitchen in a haze. I asked him ”what happened?”

He said Jack put his face right up against his, and whispered, “Freddie, Freddie” and as he started to open his eyes, Jack yelled ”PIE!”

Tomorrow is Vintage Thingy Thursday. Stop by and see one more of my prize possessions. If you ask me if you can have it when I die, you get nothing. Just saying.


Karen said...

Oh would I love to do that to someone. PIE!

I would have loved to hang out with Jack.

Pumpkin Delight (Kimberly) said...

Oh that is good!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

I still use those percolators when I go camping. The coffee doesn't get any better than that, although I am not a patient person and am always watching for that pot to boil....

The pressure cooker - I am dying laughing over the lid on the ceiling. My mother exploded a pot of turnip greens once, so I totally can relate.

Ah, Rita, and now a Ruth - I have told you I love the name Rita but I also love Ruth (one of my best friends growing up was Ruth). If Ruth's siblings were so entertaining, there is no doubt in my mind there must be some stories about her to be told.

I can't wait. This is good stuff.

Unknown said...

CBW, Ruth was one who stayed within the lines. Now the other sister "Shirl the girl" was a bit wild.
The best one is when Jack went to confession at my church. A whole post of it's own one day.

Cathy said...

wowza...Thank you so much. I figured it out...

Pleasing Procrasinator said...

I remember my grandparents always using one of the percolators.
The more we hear of Jack the more I want to be around him. He seems so wonderful.

Suzanne said...

oh this is so funny. Laugh out loud and snort funny.
I remember the G'pa had one.
I use them when we go to girl scout camp,but for the life of me I can not make the coffee without getting grounds all over the place. I make "thick" coffee I guess.

Keeper Of All Things said...

What a great story!!!
And really, Who can contain themselves when there's coffee and pie.........

Unknown said...

Thank you for making my day again,..wonderful to hear these stories! You should really write a book!But I was re reading and you know how close you sounded like the Kennedy's;Jack Joseph Massuchusets.

Unknown said...

What a great story! I love those coffee perculators too! I never had coffee from one but I remember my Grammy had one on her stove. Thanks for the lovely memorios. I can't wait to see your vintage thing. I know that Heart Shaped Hedges is never going to ask again! said...

Oh I laughed so hard at those last 3 paragraphs that I had tears running down my cheeks! That is so something my son would do. I could just picture him pacing while waiting and being so excited about PIE! If only we could all be so excited about the simple things :)