On Saturday morning, I called papa to invite him over for dinner. Mama is in Russia, Husbandrinka had some kind of reunion event that evening, so I thought it would be nice to spend some time with papa.
“I don’t know if I can make it,” he told me.
“Do you have dinner plans?” I asked, not wanting him to break a previous commitment.
“I have no plans, but I’ll have to see.”
“I’d like to know so that I can plan,” I started to regret calling him.
“What difference does it make to you? Just make a lot and then if I do not come, you have leftovers.”
I was starting to seethe. Because one of the reasons that I invited papa over is that I wanted to make fish for the two of us. Husbandrinka and the kids are carnivores and will not touch the fish with a 10 foot fishing pole.
“I was going to make something in individual portions,” I explained to papa, living the No Good Deed Goes Unpunished credo. “So I need to know.”
“Oh, so what are you making?”
“I don’t want to say,” I told him for reasons that will soon become clear.
“So you’re trying to sell me a cat in the bag?”
I have to confess: I’ve never heard this fun Russian expression before and I could only assume that it involves trying to pass off some unknown entity. Like not telling your guest exactly what you will be serving for dinner.
“Fish, I’m making fish!” I yelped.
“I see,” he seemed thoughtful. “How are you going to prepare it? I ask because fish, I like to cook myself. Many people do not know how to cook it.”
“OH MY GOD!” I lost it. “I invited you to dinner. The normal thing to say is ‘thank you, what can I bring’!”
“I’m sorry, Marinka, but I’m old. And old people are cranky, set in their ways and incontinent.”
“What can I bring?”
“A watermelon, please.”
I told my father that we’d be eating at 6 and that if he could come at 5:30 that would be great. It wasn’t even 9 am and I was already exhausted.
Papa arrived at 2:30.
“I’m early,” he said. “But my errands didn’t take as long as I thought.”
“What errands?” I asked.
“I had to buy watermelon,” he told me. He held it up. It was very round.
Dinner conversation was fun as well!
I made sole for me and papa.
“What do you think of the fish?” I asked him.
“In Russia, people buy sole to give to cats because there is no cat food there,” he told me. I’m not sure how many gourmet chefs have received a similar compliment, but I was damn proud.
“Let me ask you,” he said, sensing a change of topic was in order. “Are your eyes and mine the same color?”
“No,” I told him. “Mine are a pure blue and yours are sort of dirtyish gray.”
“Really?” He asked. “Very strange. I always thought mine were clear blue and yours were more insignificant.”
“I don’t even know what that means, but if you look in the dictionary under blue, you’d see my eyes. I could totally pass for an Aryan youth, where eyes are concerned. Sadly, you’d be a lampshade.”
It’s now three days later and I’m still sort of seething about our dinner.
Because I think that I should be able to make dinner for my father and he should eat it and enjoy it without comparisons to cat food.
Papa, on the other hand, claims that he was just expressing his honest opinion and would I prefer that he lie to me. I’m sorry, is that supposed to be some kind of a dilemma? Of course I’d rather he lie to me! Don’t we all, blue eyes?