‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Friday, August 7, 2009

the architecture of small things

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.


Meadowlark said...

I got a thigh holster for my anniversary one year.

Guess who it fit? :)

Of course, that was back in the days of being oh-so-broke and keeping himself safe on SWAT callouts was the best gift he could give me.

But I've always been easy. And I'd have loved the egg slicer because it meant he took the time to think of me. Don't get me started on my Roomba!!! BEST. GIFT. EVER.

Susan said...

Agreed - best gift ever. We love our roomba, too! This year I've asked for bathroom tile. Because I'm fancy like that.

Zip n Tizzy said...

Sounds like she recognized his genius and quirkiness from the very beginning.
When we were young and poor, I gave my husband sock of the month club, because I was romantic like that and he had a bunch of holey socks. I bet he hasn't saved any of them to show my kids what a great gift giver I was.
Happy Birthday.

The Whispering Poppies said...

Sweet and tender... sigh.


Kristin @ Going Country said...

My dad's first gift to my mom was . . . wait for it . . . a pair of running shoes. What a charmer.

And you thought you'd just slip in the birthday announcement quietly? This means we should all take pictures of ourselves eating cake for you, right? If someone would deliver a cake to me, I would definitely eat it for you. But I don't think that's going to happen. Happy birthday anyway!

Bella said...

i love that.
i'm such a freak. i would love the egg slicer. a perfect one is very hard to find. i'm still searching too. i am however equally delighted with the handmade jewelry and other art stuff that Will feels moved to buy me. but i would seriously dig the egg slicer!
i'll send you one if i ever find a good one. (it could never be perfect, like your mom's though)
i'll send the pics of the kids eating your cake later...
fresh out of cake at the moment except i have a pot cupcake in the fridge from a party i went to last weekend. (it's Will's so the kids won't be eating that...he could eat it in your honor though)

Dana's Brain said...

What a great story. Very special people with a very special daughter. I hope you have a Happy Birthday!!!

Laggin said...

Well, an egg slicer does fit within the one simple rule I have laid down for Car-man about gifts: if it plugs in, it's not a gift. (Rule established following hair-dryer and crock-pot gifts.)

Hit 40 said...

I got a scale :-) I like the egg slicer better.

Rose Brier Studio said...

My absolute fav gift from DH was a printer/photocopy machine. It was so wonderful. I raved about it while we had it, still rave about it even tho it has gone to HP heaven (or the local transfer station)!

My absolute fav birthday gift of all time was 2 dozen yellow roses. When I was born my Nana planted a yellow rose bush in her back garden. My sis got pink and my brother got red. So for my first birthday away at college, Nana ordered a dozen yellow roses to be delivered to my dorm room. Somehow the florist got the date wrong (they might have been as much as a week early) and to make up for the mistake sent another dozen the next week. It was glorious!

Hope your birthday is 2 doz roses wonderful!
ps I should probably just post to my own blog instead of writing these long comments about my life that have hardly anything to do with what you wrote! ;-)