"I could hardly eat my
breakfast," Uncle Sidney told me afterwards. "Your father scrambled the
eggs with an ice pick that he killed a
"Didn't he wash it first?" I asked.
"Yes, but that's not the point," Uncle Sidney replied with an
expression of disgust.
In the asparagus season he limited himself to six unbuttered spears
on a cold dish; in the corn season he had an extra glass of cold water
to immerse the ears in and bring them to a more comfortable temperature
for eating. Another culinary peculiarity was his ingenious method of
making gravy by pouring boiling water over a roast beef
before carving it. "Gravy's mostly water anyway," he would say as he
applied the hot liquid to the sizzling meat, "and people are always
wanting more than there is."
In spite of all this, he was very fussy about buying his roasts
and often went to the butcher shop personally to be sure he got
a good one. He dealt with a market in Waltham, and one day the butcher
tried to sell him a piece of meat that he considered in- ferior
and he told the butcher so.
"That's the best piece of roast beef in Middlesex County,"
the butcher said firmly.
"God save Middlesex County," said my father and he turned
and walked out never to return.
On the whole, he took such good care of himself that he
almost never needed medical attention, but once he was bedrid- den for
the better part of two weeks, having fallen off the roof
of a shed and breaking a blood vessel in his hip. Dr. Van Nuys came and
treated him. When my mother got home a little later
she assumed that no doctor had seen him and that he planned