~Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Dog Fork

"I don't know what to get my father for Father's Day," I said lazily while lying on top of Abraham's bed. Kickball would start within the hour, and we were spending a few minutes spooning after work but before the game.

"I thought I was his Father's Day gift," he responded innocently.

I obediently go to my father's house every year for the day. This time my father said more than once that Abraham was invited. It sounded less like a request and more like, "It's time, Sarah." Because Abraham met my mother two weeks prior, he may as well get it all over with.

I kissed Abraham for his sweet remark. "Happy Father's Day, dad. You never have to move me from apartment to apartment again."

"Uh, wait a minute. There are movers for that," he sulked.

***

There seemed to be a contest between my parents over who knew the most about Abraham. Hands down the winner is my mother, who hears about the routine day-to-day stuff and has picked up on the amount of time we spend together.

My father told my mother that he was meeting Abraham.

"He's nice. You'll have a good time," my mother said smugly.

"You met him?"

"A couple of weeks ago."

My father was quiet. I think he was hurt.

***

Abraham wasn't as nervous meeting my father as he was my mother. Maybe it's because he knows I talk to my mom multiple times a day and I talk to my father once every couple of weeks. Maybe it's because he already has one parent under his belt. Maybe it's because when he asked which beer to buy to gift my father, I told him he prefers cheap stuff.

As we got out of the car, I heard my step-mother call excitedly, "They're here!"

I opened the back seat and the Femme Fatale hopped out and joined her doggy pals in the backyard. My father was in the swimming pool. It's difficult to be nervous when you're shaking hands with someone who is wet and shirtless. He also speaks in a thick Pennsylvania Dutch accent, a product of his upbringing. "Water" sounds like "wart." "Garage" sounds like "crotch." Abraham immediately picked up on some of the words I say, mainly the funny sounding ones. "Nudge" to mean a person who is an annoyance and "schtauby" to mean "drunk."

My father immediately got us beer and coozies. We sat around one of the patio tables, and they regaled us about the party they had yesterday with all of my step-siblings. They asked Abraham simple questions that they didn't already know: what he did, how long he worked there, where he lived, etc. Abraham provided the exact opposite answer S would have given for every question. Abraham is sure-footed and stable. I hope my parents noticed the difference.

As the sun heated our skin, we too changed for the pool. The Femme Fatale was already standing in a large fountain, which she prefers to the swimming pool. She walked circles around the bottom tier and drank as she cooled off.

I had a brand new float I bought for the summer. It's a raft that holds cups for beer pong, so you can play in the swimming pool. Abraham and I inflated the float and played as my father and step-mother watched, bewildered at the game.

They brought out the leftovers from the party the night before: ribs.

"Is this pork?" I asked my step-mother.

"Yes. And this is chicken," she said, pointing to the other barbequed meat.

I never thought eating kosher would be a big deal. I don't even consider myself a big pork eater, but it seems to be everywhere when you're trying to avoid it. I took the pork ribs so there would be enough chicken left for Abraham to eat. I didn't know which way my parents would go. My father took the pork. My step-mom took the chicken.

We sat at the outside dining table near the Femme Fatale and her fountain. I ate half my ribs before I cut up the rest and called her over. She sat obediently as I fed her the pork.

"I can't believe you're using your fork," my father said, less than pleased.

For the record, it was a plastic fork and paper plate. We were not high dining like we had at my mother's. The Femme Fatale gingerly accepted each cut of meat off the plastic fork.

"See? She's good with a fork, and I don't have to get dog saliva on me."

"That only leads me to believe you've done this before," he said dryly.

We finished eating. I became aware of all the summer mosquitos stinging my legs.

"Rub a dryer sheet on your skin," my step-mom advised. "It'll coat you, and you'll smell like Downey."

I went inside to try her home remedy (which worked, by the way). I brought a pie out with me to the table and cut a slice for everyone.

Halfway into my pie Abraham said quietly, "Is that the dog fork?"

It was. I forgot about it when I got stung so badly and went inside for relief. I was eating the pie with the dog fork. I solemnly put the dog fork down and picked up a new one. The table erupted in laughter.

"I really had a good time," Abraham said in the car.

"Why?"

"It was more relaxed than your mother's."

"Well, she's proper."

"I know."

"She doesn't say 'poop' you know. Or 'crap.'"

What does she say?" he asked, amused.

"Jobee. She'd call me and yell that the dog left a jobee on the carpet."

He snickered. I joined him. I have a feeling that 'jobee' may also be Pennsylvania Dutch, but the customs in which my Yankee parents grew up is so far removed from my Southern upbringing.

"She says 'heinie' instead of 'butt.'" I added for good measure.

"So 'heinie' and 'jobee?'"

"Yup."

"That's worse than the dog fork."

4 comments:

Je m'appelle Danielle said...

I think that you're dad being in the swimming pool when you guys arrived was a good icebreaker, if Abraham was nervous.

I love that your dog hangs out in the fountain and eats off a fork, what a lady! I used to feed my old dog off a fork sometimes, its a common thing, for sure.

HomeImprovementNinja said...

Wow, even the dog eats with a fork. I guess it was a formal BBQ :P

AfterGirl said...

I am sort of a lurker (I don't often comment) but I am so happy that you are happy and having a normal relationship. I was so worried for you before with that other guy (S stands for shithead in my vocal).

ephemeralfilaments said...

Thank you for sharing your life. i enjoy reading about it and I am so happy that you have found such a good man.

 

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