You Want Fries with that Burger…?

Les and Goldie, 1971
Ain’t I Angelic… “looking”?

Ah, yes, appearances can be deceiving, though, can’t they? The dog knows differently, you can tell by the look on her face.

This picture was taken by my father in 1971. I would have been around 5 at the time. The dog (her name was Goldie), was 4, and I think my dad might have loved her as much as, if not more than, he loved me. He never once forgot her name, whereas I still get referred to as “Vel-errr…Kar-errr… Lisa! No…. Diddly-Do-Over-There”. He does that to all his kids, mind you, so it’s not like I’m singled out. He had too many kids, and just the one dog.

Goldie is in nearly every photo taken of me by my dad from the time she was brought home to the time she was “put down” when I was about 13.

She was old and had been through some tough times – surgery for removal of an “India Rubber” ball she accidentally swallowed (my dad still has that – ask him where my first tooth is, though) … rheumatism resulting from being accidentally run over (by my dad!!!!)… poor ol’ dog.

My parents didn’t tell me they’d put Goldie down until 4 days after the deed was done, because I was in the middle of a monstrous school project. They were worried I would be so upset that I’d get a bad mark. I cried. A lot. Not because the dog was gone, so much as I felt guilty that I hadn’t wondered where she was for 4 days. Some friend I turned out to be.

ANYWAY…. that’s not what this post is about. It’s about an incident that happened around the year this picture was taken – and probably the reason I hate cooking so much…

I think we were on Cockburn Island (stop laughing, Suzi), but it could have been one of a myriad of other islands in the North Channel that we “boated” to. I know there were other families there –

1) because my dad (along with several other dads) was three sheets to the wind (ummm… for those not in-the-know, “three sheets to the wind” is Sailor-Talk for Drunk.), and it took other dads present for such a thing to happen, and

B) because My Brother the Trespasser wouldn’t play with me, and it took other kids present for such a thing to happen.

So, all the other kids, being older, were… I don’t know…. gone, and I was left all by my lonesome 5-year-oldness to amuse myself. Under the arguable watchful-eyedness of a bunch of drunks. I could hardly help but get into trouble.

We were BBQ-ing that night. Well, the other families were BBQ-ing. Ours was “Hibachi-ing”. My dad loved his little Hibachi, because it didn’t need any dismantling for storage (we lived on a boat in the summer, remember?), or have to be strapped down on the deck.

It looked exactly like this.

Yes. Very small. Very low to the ground. About up to a 5-year-old’s shins. Reachable, in other words, to both a 5-year-old girl who only looked like an angel, and a 4-year-old dog who would eat anything within reach provided my dad wasn’t yelling “UUT! Oh, NO YOU DON’T!!” at the time. As I recall, that worked on both dog and girl equally well.

But, as you will recall, my dad was three sheets to the wind. And he did a silly thing. He told me (ME!) to “keep an eye on the Hibachi and make sure Goldie doesn’t get into the hamburgers.” Imagine that! And then he went back to his lawn chair, his rum, his buddies, and Nat King Cole on the 8-track.

So, I picked up the spatula and “kept an eye on the Hibachi”. As well as any 5-year-old who’d never wielded a spatula before could….

Now, this is about the point where the way my parents tell this story and the truth part ways. Ahem…*

To my knowledge, my parents don’t read my blog… in fact, I’m pretty sure that My Brother the Trespasser is the only member of my family who ever has, and I’m not even sure of that, truthfully… but if I get in trouble for the following admission, I will be forced to inform my parents who it was that taught me how to remove a locked wine-cellar door from its hinges quickly and silently, and put it back the way I found it, equally quickly and equally silently. Not to mention the party I swore I’d keep quiet about in exchange for such a valuable education. I swear I’ll tell. Fair warning, oh Brother Mine.

My parents maintain that I was “playing house”. That I “didn’t know any better”. That I just “had quite the imagination as a child”. Ri-ight. Goldie would have ratted me out in a heartbeat if my dad had thought to offer a milk bone. As it was, I think she may have scored the whole meal.

I was trying to flip the hamburgers over. I knew it had to be done; I could smell them burning. No amount of arm-waving, or sleeve-pulling, or “excuse-me-ing” could get my dad’s attention, and truthfully, it never once occurred to me to go to my mother because this emergency pertained to The Hibachi, which was most definitely my father’s turf.

And he ignored me.

And I saw my chance to finally be The Hero, and save supper.

So, I gingerly slid the spatula under a hamburger patty, and attempted to deftly flip it over, whereupon it promptly flipped off the Hibachi. Into the sand. Of course. May I remind you at this point, that I was 5.

You may not be aware, unless you’ve dropped a hamburger patty into the sand, that sand does not scrape off a hamburger patty. Completely.

But it can be disguised.

With more sand.

On all the other hamburger patties.

You can fit about eight hamburgers on an Hibachi grill. It takes approximately ten minutes for a 5-year-old girl-that-looks-like-an-angel-but-who-has-an-imagination to drop seven hamburger patties in the sand (on purpose!), scrape as much sand off as possible, and return them to the grill, sand-side-down.

They didn’t catch on until the second bite, as I recall, but they haven’t let me forget it, since. I believe we had bologna sandwiches for supper that night. Goldie ate sandy hamburger.

Not-So-Random Song for the Day: “Ramblin’ Rose” – Nat King Cole

16 Replies to “You Want Fries with that Burger…?”

  1. I’m sure you meant to entertain us with that one, but it was quite sad really…I can’t shake feeling so sorry for you…and not just then either. Tell Ruby to give you a hug for me.

    Les Says: Oh Mushy…! Don’t feel sorry for me – if anything, I was more upset that they all thought I was “playing house”, than that I was bright enough to think up such a fabulous scheme… that should’ve worked.

    I’ll take the hug, though. 🙂

  2. You mean, your family doesn’t eat food that has sand on/in it? My dad once spilled a pot of beans he’s been cooking right out the back door of his camper, and onto the sand. He scraped them back into the pot and continued cooking. Then, when we complained about the grittiness in our teeth, he told us that we needed sand in our crop, just like birds, to grind up our other food. Ah, sand beans. There was definitely some three-sheets-to-the-windness going on in that story, as well!

    Cockburn. Heh heh heh.

    Les Says: Suzi! You’ll have to learn to say it properly before I hit Minnesota (truck coming… SOON, now [Les does the Happy Dance]!!)

    And, at 5, anyway, I thought they were okay, sand and all. I’d eaten worse. Hell, I’ve COOKED worse, since…

  3. Les, that was very ingenious of you, most five year olds wouldn’t have thought to do that.

    Sandy Hamburgers. Sounds like a fictional hero. Picture Sean Connery saying “The name’s Hamburgers. Sandy Hamburgers.”

    Les Says: I think it sounds more “female”, no? Maybe a new partner for Lumbago? Hey, I went to school with a girl named “Sandy Crack”. I’m serious!

  4. Too funny. No grilling (or hibachi-ing) for you! And the pic is just too cute. My mother can’t remember the kids’ names, the whole time she is with me, she calls me my sister’s name, and vice versa. And the sad thing is my sister and I are thirteen years apart, and don’t resemble each other.

    Les Says: I remember being called by Big Sis’ name (10 years difference) all through school. I passed it on down to my niece, 9 years younger, who had the same problem coming up through the ranks.

  5. OMG, I THINK WE HAVE LIVED PARALLEL LIVES! This story had me spilling my wine out of my mouth onto the keyboard. Les, I love you. I really do! (I’m still giggling)

    Les Says: Are you telling me you sanded supper as a kid, too?! Why does this not surprise me….? 🙂

    (sorry I fried your keyboard…)

  6. Loved this story! I also got a bit nostalgic about the photo. Taken with one of the early Polaroids, right? My aunt had one, and we’ve got several treasured family photos with those little smeary wipes on them too. :o)

    Les Says: You got it. That was a “neat rig”, that camera, as my dad would say. I remember him letting me hold the pictures to watch them develop… “UUT! Don’t touch it, now!” And they took FOREVER before the ghostly images would start to appear. I still remember the smell, too…

    Thanks for the visit, Carolyn! You started a whole ‘nother set of memories over that camera. 😀

  7. Oh girl, you were some gorgeous kid! I love your writing, it’s vibrant and alive – I felt I was right there at your elbow as you committed your dasterdley crime!

    ps. I’m back – new site.


    Les Says: Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Best news in forever! Hope you get all the dust blown off your digital digs.

    (I missed you, you ol’ bag.)

  8. This is my second attempt, first one got a fatal error (story of my life). I love your writing, so vibrant and alive, I was standing right by you as you flipped those patty cakes! Yup, you were a cute kid alright, and you had a cute dog too. I’m with your dad, th dog wins every time.

    p. I’m back – new website..

    Les Says: Nah. My blog is broke. It’s playing with your head. I’m letting both comments stay because I like reading nice things about me. 😀

    And cuz I missed you….

  9. That’s hilarious and completely excusable. Two of my sisters were draining spaghetti and dropped the whole pot into the dirty sink, scooped it back up and fed it to us kids while my folks were away. They’re still laughing at least. And hey, at least your dad didn’t run you over! That I know of.

    Les Says: No… he didn’t run me over. But it wasn’t for lack of trying. 😀

  10. haha this reminds me of almost the same experience I had when I was a kid. I was told to buy bread and I was riding a bike, the paper bag with the bread fell and I had to handpick them one by one. ~LOL~ It took me 5 years before I admitted to everyone that the bread they ate that day fell into the road.

    Btw, I love the look on the doggie’s face, it’s as if he really knows something others don’t. *winkz

    Les Says: ROTFL!! That is SO much better than my story! How did you ever manage to keep your mouth shut for FIVE years?! I would have been laughing/guilty every time I saw somebody eating a sandwich.

    And yeah… that dog had a lot more dirt on me than “sandy hamburgers”. I’m grateful she never learned to speak English.

  11. lovely story les! and yes, you’re an angel…the story is sooo funny. 😀 I remembered our dog before, kyukyu. Funny name? yes, all the dogs that came after her were all called kyukyu, even the current doggie.

    Les Says: How do you pronounce that? It’s reads like “Q-Q” to me – am I right? Did you put numbers after them to keep count?

  12. You’re right, it’s pronounced Q-Q. I don’t know where my grandfather get that. No, we didnt keep count of the dogs we had named kyukyu.

    Ooops, i forgot to mention, i love your hair on that pic! 😀

    Les Says: Ewww, Maline! You have bad taste in children’s hairstyles. I believe my sister “Tootie” most likely tortured me into that “do”.

  13. You do appear like you’re about to be up to something (or just did something) in that pic. And the dog has a knowing look. haha

    Les Says: I KNOW!! I wonder if that’s how “they” always knew when I’d done something they should maybe be concerned about… I could never figure out how they just seemed to know when I’d been up to shenanigans. All they had to do was check out Goldie’s expression.

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