I like listening to classical music to remember my father. It was the one detail I had not divulged to anyone else. In the years of bitterness, anger, and deception that had slowly built a calloused wall between us, I still had that stream of pureness that effortlessly floated out as notes from Beethoven, Mozart or Brahms (his favorite) were played. I’d find myself sitting in the quiet intimacy of my car listening to the music playing loudly and softly thinking of Sunday mornings long ago when the air was thick with youth and carelessness as the bacon gently sizzled and life was good, safe and sweet.
Mom was alive and very beautiful, wrapped in her mocha-colored terry cloth robe, always an odd shade in my young mind, yet, soothing in the way it contrasted the gentle blush of her soft cheeks and opened center-stage to her unwavering blue eyes. Every Sunday morning I’d find her faithfully by the stovetop, stirring her scrambled eggs with a withheld patience, quietly luring them to a creamy perfection never duplicated by anyone since. Mom would turn towards me and smile as I approached her those mornings, a twinkle in her eye, the words that I knew would come from her comforted me long before they danced from her lips:
“Breakfast will be ready soon dear,” she’d say with a soft smile and I knew I was well and loved and safe.
Life with filled with a sleepy and thick layer of deliciousness. In a daze I’d float through the wonderful smells of velvety eggs, followed by the apple tart smokiness of sweet cured bacon, sputtering shamelessly on the back burner.
This was all in perfect synchrony with the music that would be playing. It would be whatever my father would have selected for that morning amongst his endless collection of classical albums, all stacked close together; the crumpled brown thin papers hugging the shinny vinyl and keeping it from harm. There were hundreds of records and each Sunday my father would approach them with a studious wrinkle in his brow and decide what mood would begin our day. Quietly and very carefully he’d pick one and gently caress it clean and place it on the turntable to come to life.
As the needle’s scratchy touch awoke the symphony our lesson would begin. Notes would rise and fall as my father pranced around the toasty kitchen all the while describing the music’s journey while wildly waving his arms about orchestrating his musical bliss. My sisters and I (all under the age of ten) would pretend to be annoyed but in reality we listened to the music and watched him, enthralled at how our father would savor each note with such pure and uncomplicated bliss, just as we’d soon sit to our meal of equal delight.
“Breakfast will be ready in five minutes,” mom would promise and we’d all gather closer to an intimate table of her sour cream slow-cooked scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, hot croissants and freshly squeezed orange juice. Some Sundays, when mom found she had more time, or energy, or both, she’d make cheddar dill biscuits and tuck them comfortably in an old wicker basket, which lay in the center of the table. I remember breaking one warm biscuit in two and placing a perfect square of sweet butter on it. It would slowly melt as I closed my eyes and bit down and there would be a moment where I’d be caught in that lovely circuit of love bound by music, butter and love.
These were our Sunday mornings, our very own moments of quiet and peace, laughter and love, family and food. It was the one time where the outside world no longer mattered. The air we breathed was clean and pure and all of father’s impending distractions would, for that instant, remain uninvited. On those days our family was sealed from such harm.
We played and ran around in our pajamas as mom would work her culinary magic in her remaining five minutes. The symphony rolled on full throttle as we watched our dad in amazement, not quite understanding the look of complete satisfaction that shone in his hazel eyes, eyes that had not yet begun to tire, but rather burned brightly with youth, hope and love. As he’d wave his arms wildly in the air imitating the moves the conductor would make to bring this grandiose piece of music together, a chuckle would escape his happy face. He’d quickly glance at us and realize that his tiny, rambunctious and free family was together for that instant, held close by the notes of love, food, and Brahms. He’d wave his imaginary baton in its final frenzy and declare with a bow, “Let’s eat!” breaking our trance and leading us all giggling and happy to the breakfast table. We were suspended between seconds of music, laughter and food: a perfect and forever ours, Sunday morning.
Marilyn's Sour Cream Slow-Cooked Scrambled Eggs
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon chives, minced
salt and pepper to taste
In a bowl, combine eggs and water and whisk well.
In a large skillet, over medium heat, melt butter.
Reduce heat to low and add eggs.
Stir constantly until eggs will begin to thicken, about 7 – 10 minutes (hang in there and stir). Once eggs begin to thicken, add sour cream, 1 tablespoon chives and salt and pepper.
Stir one more minute to combine.
Place in serving dish and sprinkle remaining chives.