"It's not eyewater," I told him naively. "It's brandy."
"Oooh," he said. "Better keep that a secret or everyone on
the train will be having sore eyes."
My father suffered, or so he said, a chronic stomach disorder
and he was forever trying new cures, the most successful of
which was Agar powder — something made from seaweed — and he kept it in
a large glass jar on the dining room mantelpiece
and took a dose before each meal. Besides, he had to watch his diet
closely. He could eat nothing that had been cooked in
butter, and had his own butterless vegetables prepared separately and
clustered around his place in little dishes. Whenever he went out to
dinner, he took some food along in a cardboard box in
case what his hostess served might disagree with him. Every day he
ate at a lunch club in Boston renowned for its excellent cook-ing, but
he only ate cold corned beef and boiled rice which the waiters always
had ready for him when he arrived. As for ice cream and candy, he
could eat prodigious quantities and never bat an eye;
all of which makes one wonder if perhaps his dietary habits were
influenced more by desire than necessity.
At breakfast, before pouring his coffee, he would spoon sugar into
the cup to the halfway mark; the result, a saturated solution. There was
always about an inch of coffee sugar, as we called it, left in the
cup when he had finished breakfast and it had a deli- cious flavor. For
years he had fried parsnips along with the coffee, which hardly seems
right for a delicate constitution, and this in addition to his customary
fried potatoes and scrambled eggs.
And speaking of scrambled eggs, when our house in South Orleans was
nearing completion he spent a night there with
Eddie Green, our chauffeur, and Uncle Sidney Hayward.