The loud belch seemed to vibrate off of every surface in the small kitchen, causing Millie to spin around from her place at the sink and stare wide-eyed at her daughter, soap suds and warm dishwater flying from her hands as she did. “Becky, what in the world!?!” she almost shouted in disbelief. What had happened to her well-mannered and dainty daughter?
Less than a week ago Becky would have been mortified by such a breach of her well-honed adherence to good-manners and etiquette. Now, the twenty-year-old looked quite pleased with herself before deigning to quickly apologize when faced with the full force of her mother’s disappointment. “Honestly Becky, what has gotten into you lately?” Millie asked, hands on hips, the question rimmed with worry.
“It’s nothing mom,” Becky attempted nonchalance but her mother sensed there was more that she wasn’t being told. Before she could press her only daughter for more info, Becky slid off the kitchen stool where she had been perched and disappeared through the French doors off the kitchen and into their small backyard.
Trying to forget her daughter’s strange behavior over the last week, Millie turned back to her sink of dishes and attacked the Dutch oven with new vigor, as if she could scrub away the frustration she felt over Becky’s new (and undesirable) behavior. The chore only allowed her mind to wander however, and inevitably it came back to Becky. Having raised Becky to be the perfect lady, Millie decided to catalog all the strange behaviors she had noticed of late, in hopes of cracking the code of why Becky was acting as she was.
First there had been the grill. Never expressing an interest in the cooking technique before, suddenly Becky had announced that they needed a grill and a few hours later arrived home with a small Webber kettle grill. Millie didn’t think too much of it, after all, a women should know and be familiar with all the techniques of food preparation and cooking. Following Becky to their small deck off the kitchen, Millie intended to ask if Becky would like her father to come out and put the grill together for her. What she found was the second oddity in Becky’s behavior that week. Instead of running to her father for anything that involved assembly or tools, Millie almost gasped as she saw her daughter pouring over an instruction manual, tools and parts neatly organized around her. Millie found this so odd, she decided not to interrupt the girl and instead decided to watch. In less than 20 minutes, Becky had read through the manual and like an expert had put the grill together as if it were the most natural thing she had ever done. Mystifying.
Over the course of the next several days, Millie watched as Becky came home with grilling accessories, coal briquettes, grill cover, tongs and a chimney grill starter. She was spending large amounts of time at the hardware store. Millie had watched in astonishment as Becky chatted easily with the guys in meat section, laughing as they shared some kind of raunchy witticism. What had happened to the demure, almost shy polite Becky she was accustomed to? Then tonight Becky had announced she would be cooking dinner for the entire family. A few hours later she kicked Millie unceremoniously out of the kitchen and to her mother’s surprise began to unwrap three large NY strip steaks. “But Becky, you’re a vegetarian!” Millie protested with no small amount of confusion. Her outburst had been met with Becky shooing her once again out of the kitchen without so much as a word of explanation.
Setting a plate of perfectly grilled and seasoned steak and asparagus in front of her mother, father and herself, Becky dug into her own serving with obvious relish. Still exasperated, Millie was soon overcome by the delicious aromas of the food and shrugging her shoulders decided to try and enjoy a meal she didn’t have to prepare for once.
Following the meal, her father had disappeared into his study as his usual routine, and Becky relaxed at the kitchen island while Millie cleaned up. And that’s when she let out… the belch. It was more than Millie could take. She was going to get to the bottom of this bizarre behavior.
Drying her hands on a blue paisley dish towel, Millie marched outside after her daughter with the intention of dragging some sort of explanation out of her. Bursting through the French doors, Millie just about slammed into Becky who was coming back inside. “Good, there you are, I’d like some sort of explanation young lady, regarding your extremely odd behavior this week,” Millie’s words tripping over each other as she spoke, “Your father and I are very worried,” she added for good measure.
Having almost been run over by her mother, Becky balked before smiling her signature heart-melting smile and hugging her mother. Stepping back from the embrace, Becky continued to smile and leading Millie to two of the patio chairs attempted to set her mother’s mind at ease. “Sorry mom, I didn’t mean to worry you. Nothing’s wrong, it’s actually funny really… last week I went out on a date with a boy named Steve and-“
“-You didn’t tell me about any date with a Steve,” Millie couldn’t help but interrupt.
“Focus mom,” Becky replied with a chuckle, “…so while I was on this date, Steve made this comment, essentially saying I was this prissy girly-girl who probably had her daddy do everything for her and couldn’t even grill a few steaks without help.”
“What a jerk! How could he say something like that!” Millie’s maternal instinct flew into overdrive at the less-than positive remark.
“Don’t worry mom, I’m not going to see Steve again, but it did get me thinking. I mean, he was kind of right. So, I decided to prove him wrong, I went and got a grill, chatted with the guys at the deli and hardware store to get a better idea of what I was dealing with and I gotta say… I am pretty proud of myself,” Becky leaned back in her chair, obviously satisfied with herself.
Millie took a minute to process the information she had just been told, it all making sense little by little. “I just have one question love, and I’m obviously very proud of you but… well, what about the burp?”
Becky looked a little sheepish and looking at her hands replied, “Oh, well I’m afraid that was the beginning of the red meat not agreeing with me… I had to run outside cause Daddy was in the bathroom and well… I had to throw up”.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: Two milestones today, purchased our first grill and grilled my first meal- all on my own. We’ve wanted to get a grill for some time now, but were waiting for a little extra mullah before taking the leap… not that an $80 Weber kettle grill is a huge expense in the scheme of things but whatev. Not only did we buy it, but I practically assembled the thing by myself, I selected my own grilling accoutrements like a chimney grill starter. Then I picked out two lovely 1.5 inch NY strip steaks and some tantalizing asparagus. Everything came out delish- the steak perfectly cooked, the asparagus was so good we eventually forgot our forks and just popped them in our mouths like licorice. Having done all this with just a little help from le boyfriend felt pretty fulfilling- especially taking into consideration my serious aversion to fire. Dad, you’d be proud.
Love & Squirrels.