Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Big 9-9 and Eggs

Today would have been my maternal grandfather's 99th birthday. Ninety-nine, can you believe it? I think it's time for a story.

Leon was quite a colorful character. He was one of three children and outnumbered by two sisters, one who died in childhood from an illness. He only made it to sixth grade in his formal education to go to work and help support his family, beginning his worldly schooling. From lying about his age at 16 to get onto the Dallas Police force, he was later one of the key officers in the hunt for Bonnie and Clyde. His claim to fame? Befriending Clyde's mom and having a few "colorfully" argumentative phone conversations with Clyde Barrow in the early 30s. He loved law enforcement and had a real passion for justice and helping others.

He was first married at 16 to a lovely childhood friend. They had two girls who looked like their mother, and both daughters grew up to be intelligent, loving women. Leon and his wife ended up growing apart, but they remained close friends all their lives. In the meantime, Leon moved to Houston and Mr. Mash started selling Nash automobiles. He was a good salesman, but an even better charmer with the ladies. A particularly beautiful woman named Lura, independent as the day is long, came by herself to shop for a new car. She had 7 brothers, all of whom would have loved to accompany her so she got a fair deal, but she opted to do this alone. This proved to be a good decision, for Lura ran into Leon that day at the dealership. Leon did not sell her a Nash Rambler but, instead, gave her his heart.

The two married in 1955 and had a daughter and a son, Jeanine and David, several years later. Leon had a variety of jobs over the years, including owning a hardware store near NASA in Houston. Leon used to joke that his astronaut customers could travel to the moon but they couldn't repair a clogged toilet. That's where Leon stepped in, serving as their home adviser and handyman when these brilliant PhD scientists needed help from a man with a 6th grade education. Leon loved his family dearly until the day he died. For that, we'll remember the blessing of his love.

And I'll remember his Unusual food preferences. Here were some of his favorites:
*Runny, barely warm, scrambled eggs
*Tarter sauce by the spoonful
*Crunchy peanut butter, every day
*Canned vegetables, room temperature, fork in can.

So, in memory of his life and the day that celebrates his 99th birthday, I made my own eggy meal. It's a little less runny than he preferred, but it's the thought that counts, right?
5-minute Egg Pancake
*Note: This is not an omelette. Omelettes are fluffy and neat...this is quick and flat.

2 farm-raised eggs
Cucumbers with ranch and potato bread toast add nicely
2 TB chives, chopped
2 TB bell pepper
2 TB mushrooms
Salt and pepper
1 t. fresh basil, chopped
Shredded cheese, optional

Heat non-stick pan/skillet. In a small bowl, whisk eggs. 
Mix in the other 6 ingredients. Pour into pan.
 Let cook for 4-5 minutes, flipping to prevent burning.
 Eat and be merry. 

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