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A Few Joyce Words-- Son of a, What?

A Few Joyce Words-- Son of a, What?

"Hey Pop."
"Hey, Bud. How ya doin'?"
"Mom's got ya workin' again, huh?
Sunday's the old man putters in the garage; does the yard work. When there isn't any yard work he toils with the sprinkler system, rearranges the fish tank, takes apart the dryer that doesn’t dry things.
“Son of a boatswain’s mate!”
A retired Navy Chief, Pop will often utter this sanitized phrase of consternation when one of the hundreds of boxes in the garage doesn’t contain what his sharpie-scribbled label suggests. Or when he hammers a thumb or gets out-witted by an appliance. Damn dryer.
We both work a lot, Pop and I. Most days our conversation consists solely of the script form on old Bud Light commercial:
“How ya doin’?”
“How ya doin’.”
Not on Sundays. Sundays he works his honey-do list and we watch football. His Jags, my Giants. He likes his hot dogs simmered in a pot of Sauer kraut, smothered in red-onions. I take mine with relish, banana peppers. The problem is Pop has diabetes. Mom worries about his diet, his sugar intake and his Glucerna bars. He inhales those diabetic-friendly granola sticks, she says. And bananas. Lots of bananas.
I worry too, but again, not on Sundays.
"Jags play at 1p.m. today, chicken okay"?
"Sounds okay to me."
I like hot dogs as much as the next guy. That is of course unless the next guy is Kobayashi the perennial Nathan’s hot-dog-eating-contest champion and record setter. Or Pop.
I try to change it up though. I’ve done nachos, chili and certainly we grill. But I often like to take a meat or a fish, sauté a little garlic and oil. I’ll mix white rice and salsa or some diced tomato. A vegetable medley or a salad is an easy side. I’ll sere the fish in a made-up concoction, or I’ll strip the steak. This week was boneless chicken thighs in a peppercorn ranch marinade. Stick the cutlets in the pan with the oil and the garlic and the pinching of the white pepper. (in my Heathcliff Huxtable voice) Blackened.
We eat and watch football. Mom will have a small portion; and a healthy-sized opinion if I make anything too spicy for her taste. It’s seldom but it happens.
We still don’t talk a whole lot. Who needs to? We’ve got football. We’ve got food. We’ve got no worries about Pop’s diet for that day and the dishes can wait until later. The silence is only shattered when Mom, in her office on the other side of the house, gets an un-solicited in-game update.
“Touchdown Jaguars!” Pop lifts her Chihuahua up on his hind legs and makes the dog signal the score.
“Touchdowwwwwn, Jaguuuuuuaaaahhhsss”, Pop says with his old school Queens accent, only perceptible when he celebrates the Jags or answers his cell.
“How ya doin’?”
My celebrations of Giant’s success are a bit more animated. And more frequent. The G-Men are doing a sight better than the Jags this year. Which means instead of hearing Pop and the dog do their TD routine; she’s more often likely to hear his resounding disappointment.
“Son of a boatswain’s mate.”


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