Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Take Care of the Meat

Yikes! I am caught in a lie. Momma always said your sins will find you out.

As you probably know, I am taking a " creative non-fiction and the personal essay" writing course. It's not unlike the blog in that you start with a real life story and tell it not just simply as an act of exhibitionism, but as a source of entertainment or education for your reader.

While we are encouraged to embellish and take poetic license to a certain extent for the sake of the story, the facts are supposed to remain the facts. But me, well sometimes I make people up. I do it for the sake of the story, knowing my classmates are from all over the world and no one will know that I don't have an eccentric old Aunt, or a co-worker with a sordid past. Except when everyone falls in love with the eccentric old aunt. They all want to know more about her and insist that next week's story have good ol' Aunty at the centre....

It's true, you can never tell just one lie...

Here's this week's submission (which had to be written from the 2nd person voice) that made them love Aunty:

Take Care of the Meat

"No man will go out for a hamburger when he gets steak at home," your elderly aunt wags her crooked finger in front of your seventeen-year-old nose. From previous encounters with Aunty you instinctively know she isn't talking about ground beef and prime rib. You see wisdom in her words that causes you to vow to learn the art of grillin' steak.

Now this is not to say that your first encounters with chunks of meat are delectable morsels. Far be it from you to claim immediate mastery in the art of steak preparation. However, fortunate for you, there is a grace period for a young wife and her initial inability to grill meals worthy of 5-star ratings. Your new husband, satisfied by simply having someone there to throw his meat on the fire every night, is willing to overlook the often times overcooked steak and the occasional burger that comes off the grill looking a bloody mess. But with practice you learn what works and what doesn't. Sometimes the practice is the best part.

Oh, you've found a couple of recipes that satisfy every time, without fail, and you tend to default to them, but you can still picture that wagging finger.

Although Aunty left this earth a number of years ago, you can practically hear her voice, crackling with age, saying, "Even a perfectly grilled medium rare t-bone can get monotonous night after night." And you heed her warnings by making sure you serve it up a little juicier than usual every once in a while. And sometimes you throw on a little extra spice just to keep the sizzle going.

As you consider the exceptionally high rate of long-term marriages in your family you can't help but wonder how many others can partially credit their success to that little old finger wagging under their noses.

It seems so primal and basic and you know there are women who will take offence, and men who will pronounce denial, but you know in your heart Aunty was right. Take care of the meat and the rest of the meal will fall into place.

I do remember being told the "hamburger vs steak" metaphor years ago - not sure who told me. Or maybe I read it. I dunno where it came from but I thought I'd turn it into a story.

Aunty doesn't even have a name for crying out loud - how am I gonna bring her to life!

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