Hot Wings, Crazy Chicken
My dad died a couple of days ago. This week has been a major outpouring of honest love. All the “Anything I can do?’s,” “Do you need a meal?”s. Even from my ex-girlfriend’s husband, a tough Australian rugby type greeted me with a warm sincere hug. I was touched. The thing about that broad is she’s got fantastic taste in men, from me on up. As I recall, she even had a fantastic taste. It’s been 15 years but her kiss was sweet like peppermint ice cream. After years of just having a crunchy plain cone, gnawing on the paper napkin that hasn’t changed in formula one bit since those first cones we used to get after Saturday swim meets, every ounce of sugar burned from five to seven races. Sometimes we got chicken wings, I loved eating chicken wings. I loved being outdoors walking around a small suburban shopping mall with a cone on a late summer afternoon, just not doing anything, enjoying summer vacation, not even realizing what a special time it is and beginning to feel tired.
Not tired, I felt “snoozy.”
I’m that now. Even with this overabundance of love and support I have gotten there is only one person that can help me out. The Sandman is the one I need. I am just simply wiped.
My Dad’s dead. He died two days before the Super Bowl.
I knew I needed to get out of town, but I was hosting a party. You can’t cancel a Super Bowl party and I host a good one. I played the role of my usual jokey self with perhaps a little more raunch window dressing thrown in. “It’s Showtime,” put on the smile warm up the grill, warm up the crowd, crying like a beaten child on the inside, hiding behind a shield made of dark beer and wings marinated in crude humor.
“Man what’s sup with these commercials, so sensitive, where are the fucking Coors Light twins?”
There’s something special about this dip, don’t worry about that it’s a little extra taste of Dave darling, mixed with some mouse I found outside. I think the mouse was French so that tickling texture drifting down your uncomplicated tongue should taste of perfection.
Any crap to keep eyes dry.
Talking to these folks about my pop tackling the big leap of faith less than 48 hours ago would be poor hosting. The last clock tock ticked off, but I am focusing on wings through the window in the oven. They are getting a bit more golden, dripping juice just a bit more. From the aroma I can tell that I was a bit stingy on the hot sauce and the green Tabasco, but I didn’t want to blow people palettes. Wings are Rocket Science, and for the occasion I put on my broken glasses and pocket protector, I’m not a cook-- I am a chemist, I assemble these things and tweak it until it tastes better than Hooters, the restaurant.. well, yeah, the real thing too.
Frank never took a drink his entire life, not because it was immoral, he just never found it necessary. I couldn’t imagine laying fire to a Korean beach attempting to scorch out the enemy and not doing a shot afterwards. He was proud of his service work, not for the killing but for getting through a really tough time. He was proud of stepping up. This simple watchmaker from Stockton was on orders to kill. There was no discussion of “feelings,” other than sighs of relief and frustration when his boat, in 1945, was ordered to get the hell away of Japan as fast as possible, something big is about to happen. People argue that dropping the bomb saved a million American lives that a true battle for Japan would have cost. Frank was one of those lives.
A couple of days before Xmas, I sat running my fingers through his hair on the part of his head the cancer hadn’t eaten through. My other hand was clenched in his fist. His clench was strong;, an infant on your finger.
He had gotten down to about 80 pounds, his wedding ring wouldn’t stay on anymore. It was the last thing he asked for before he died. That, and a bowl of Rice Krispies.
But back to the wings, I pulled them out of the oven. Does a cremation oven look like this…do they use oven mitts afterwards? The smell has got to be terrible.
But this story’s not about that, it’s about wings and ranch sauce. Hey, nothing but the best for my beer buddies.
Anyways Frank didn’t drink, but loved to eat. So I slather some red and green Tabasco all over a wing and over dip it into the ranch dressing. I silently say my version of a prayer.
I bite in.
It’s perfect. I had assembled a rocket.
I take a plate, and then yell and scream at the TV.