Yesterday, I made egg salad at my mom's house. I like making egg salad at her house because her egg slicer is the awesomest. It's the one from my childhood and no other egg slicer has ever quite measured up. Simple, elegant, probably made of lead or maybe zinc. They just don't make them like they used to. We, for instance, have broken two egg slicers in the last month.
I mention the awesomeness of this egg slicer to mom.
mom: Daddy gave it to me.
me: um, as a gift?
mom: he got it at the commissary.
My dad was in the Army before I was born. Before, in fact, he married my mother.
"Mom, did dad give you this when you were dating?"
"Yes, he brought it to me the first time he was home on leave."
She does not use the same tone of voice I would use if I were telling someone about the egg slicer my boyfriend gave me when we were first dating. There is tenderness in her voice.
I can picture my dad spotting it in the commissary and thinking how cool it was. It slices eggs! In four directions! So simple! Yet perfect! Brilliantly engineered and exquisitely crafted, it was the perfect gift for the woman he loved.
I wonder what mom said when she received this gift. Was she gracious? Delighted? Mystified? Over the years she would come to understand the genius of my father. I imagine he took some getting used to. Or was she so smitten that the quirkiness escaped her? Perhaps she giggled and thought maybe the egg slicer meant he wanted her to make egg sandwiches for him forever and ever.
Which, obviously, he did. (but it was also a small piece of mechanical greatness)
I go on and on about my dad - partially because he was so great but also because he's gone and it's my way of keeping him around. I don't go on and on about my mom, because, well, she's HERE and I don't have to make her more here. But I couldn't help but hold that egg slicer and realize I hadn't given her the credit she's deserved.
I hope I am as gracious, and tender, if I am given an egg slicer for my birthday tomorrow.
At least it's not a wireless router.