Monday, July 4, 2011

Who The Hell Is This Etiquette Guy?



“Looks like Mom forgot to pack the plastic forks.”

“So. How are we gonna eat the potato salad?”

“Well. She didn’t forget the plastic knives.  We can use those.”

“Sounds good to me.”

Yawning, I couldn’t have cared less how my brother and dad were going to eat that potato salad. I hated potato salad. I didn’t give 2 hoots about anything that had mayonnaise, eggs, onion, and celery. The only things it really had going for it, in my 10-year-old opinion, were the mustard, potatoes, and bacon. In fact, the only thing it was missing from my “There’s-no-way-I’m-gonna-eat-that-crap” list was tomatoes. Yuck.

“Caroline, do you want some potato salad?”

“Nope. Just baked beans and my chicken leg. Please.” 

God, how I loved my mom’s fried chicken. Especially when we’d been fishing all morning from dawn until just after noon. Those donuts we had back at 4 o’clock this morning before putting the boat in the bay hadn’t been intended to last that long and my tummy was growling.

“Caroline? I don’t think you’re gonna be able to eat those baked beans with a knife.” How about 2 chicken legs and some potato salad?”

With an “Are you crazy?” look on my face, I told my dad in no uncertain terms that there was no way on God’s green earth that I was gonna eat that potato salad.

He just shook his head, scooped up what I’d asked for, added a plastic knife, and handed it over. I tore into that cold fried chicken like I hadn’t eaten like, well, since, 4 o’clock this morning. 

Then I attempted the bake beans with a knife. Have you ever attempted to eat baked beans with a plastic knife? Yeah. Well. I don’t suggest it. Even if you are starving. It’s not easy. I quickly ate as much as I could. Then ate the rest of my chicken.

But I was still hungry. I tried to look everywhere else but at my brother’s and dad’s plates piled high with Mom’s potato salad. I watched a bird swoop down towards the water. I saw a fish come to the surface causing a small ripple in the water. I focused on one of the islands that made up the area of the bay where we’d been fishing all morning. Then I looked back at their plates. The potato salad. The piles weren’t as high anymore.

Then I focused on the island once more. My eyes began to droop as the boat gently rocked back and forth. I closed my eyes briefly and filled my lungs with the salty air. I heard more birds off in the distance.

I opened my eyes again. Just staring at that potato salad. My stomach growled. I licked my lips
“Caroline? Are you sure you don’t want some potato salad? Here. Try some”

My dad handed me some on a paper plate. I hesitantly picked up my plastic knife. Barely dipped it into the potato salad. Brought it to my nose. Sniffed. My stomach growled. It smelled so good. I stuck out my tongue. Licked some of it off the knife. And?

My mouth watered.

I quickly swallowed it and dug in for more. Each knife-full was better than the last. It was tangy. The juxtaposition of the crispy fried bacon and the soft potatoes was to die for. The crunch of the onion and the celery? Divine.

Each ingredient complimented the other.  It was perfect.

Before I knew it, I was done. I licked the knife. I licked the paper plate. I hadn’t even left any on my plate for Etiquette’s sake, like my Gran always used to tell me to do.

I figured Etiquette could get his own mom’s dang potato salad.

My potato salad, which was my mom's potato salad. Before that is was my Gran's, & one day, it will be my daughter's.


  1. Yum! My mouth is watering! Great story, very entertaining!

  2. Sounds just like Camp Fenley! I make mine almost the same way except I add apples and no bacon.

  3. Ok, Caroline. You got us all craving potato salad. Now the cooking-challenged among us, like me, are gonna need more than a hint at the ingredients. You gotta post the recipe!

  4. sounds just like my moms potato salad but I always loved it. Great storytelling.


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