Growing up as the oldest daughter in a family of sisters, I was not prepared for some of the surprises that come with raising a brood full of boy children. Like their preternatural fascination with gas—the kind produced by eating beans and broccoli. Or their early obsession with the length of their nether bits.
But of all the surprises with which they have gifted me, perhaps the most surprising has been the pee. Ironically, the only time I ever envied boys was when we were miles from a toilet and mother nature was calling.
For example, while driving around on the ranch, and being 30 minutes from camp. My male friends and family members would just step to the back of the truck and let her rip. Not so for us girls….Less accessible anatomy means greater exposure—and therefore the need for greater privacy. This means a hike through the brush to find privacy enough that we don’t moon the boys waiting back at the truck. This isn’t as easy as it seems, because they are TRYING to get mooned.
And on a long stretch of busy highway? Fuggetaboutit.
So as much as I envied the boys this ability in my youth, it has often lead to much frustration, hilarity and bleach as a parent. You see, not only CAN boys answer nature’s call outdoors when they have to, they DO answer it outdoors even when there are perfectly acceptable toilet facilities nearby.
Once, when my youngest (it’s always the youngest, isn’t it??) was about 4, we were at his brother’s T-ball game. He disappeared for a moment, and terror-struck as we turned and found him. He had walked past the restrooms, and was standing in the middle of the main breezeway, hundreds of people all around, with his britches down around his ankles. His father was impressed at the 5 foot arch he had achieved. I was in a fetal position under the bleachers sucking my thumb.
Not too long after that, we were spending the weekend hunting. The hunting truck needed gas, so we drove it into town when we went for breakfast. For the uninitiated, a hunting truck has a metal cage built on top, about ten feet off the ground, with 4 chairs on it. This mechanism is used for spotting wildlife from a higher vantage point while driving the ranch. It can also be used as a mobile blind, from which hunters may hunt. So anyway, as we are standing in line at the taco stand, which is on the side of a state highway in this small south Texas town, when we see that a small group of people across the highway have assembled. They are all laughing and pointing to our side of the highway, in fact, they are pointing to our truck. To the top of our hunting rack, where a sweet cherub faced little boy has scaled the ladder, dropped trou, and is trying to beat his 5 foot arch record. Onto the highway below. In front of, and possibly onto, passing motorists. So apparently hunting trucks have additional uses for which I was unaware.
In Kindergarten the same year, a recess had to be missed by a certain someone because he had chosen to scribe his name on the bathroom wall, and had to glove up and help the teacher wash the wall with bleach. Did I mention he had no writing implements with which to write his name? Pee is quite an art form apparently.
When he was in the backyard playing one day, he came in the back door, walked right past me in the kitchen, and past the guest bath, and out the front door. He must have thrown his ball over the fence. I went and looked out the front window, only to find him watering the flowers around the mailbox. You know, next to the street. Where people were walking. No, he wasn’t using a hose to water the flowers.
I grew concerned after I found he had also watered the inside of one of my flower vases, and some small trash cans. I asked the pediatrician if I should expect a lifetime spent visiting the child in some sort of facility. “No,” he assured me “this kind of thing is very common with boys of that age. They have that thing sticking out there, tempting them all the time to see what all they can do with it.”
Lawdy Mercy. He wasn’t kidding.
And don’t even get me started again on how old they have to be before they start hitting the toilet. I mean the water in the toilet. They seem to have no problem hitting the seat. Would it be weird if I kept a cup of Cheerios in the bathroom, and asked my 20-year-old and 15-year-old to toss one in and aim for it?
I eat my peas with honey.
I’ve done it all my life.
It makes the peas taste funny
But it keeps them on my knife.
At the Catholic school I attended, most people did not like to eat their peas. The nuns would tell us that peas would make our hair curly, and I did want curly hair, but I loved peas anyway. The kids that didn’t used to try to cleverly hide their peas, because the nuns made us clean our plates. Kids started stuffing the food they didn’t like I into their empty milk containers, until the nuns got wise to it–then they would pick up our cartons and shake them before we were allowed to throw them away. Since we didn’t have to eat our rolls, some kids would hollow out the middle of their rolls and put their peas inside. My friend Yvonne stuffed some up her nose onetime. That didn’t work out so well, of course, and she wound up in the emergency room with some guy sticking forceps up her nose, and then a nasty sinus infection.
But not me. I like them creamed, buttered, roasted, and fried. In salads, and soups, and all alone.
Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy them…
Peas and Prosciutto
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 oz prosciutto, cubed
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 1 10 oz bag frozen green peas, thawed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 oz freshly grated parmesan cheese
Place the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add prosciutto and shallots, and cook for a few minutes until the shallots are translucent. Add the peas, and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with shredded parmesan cheese. Serve as a delicious side dish, or in the soup below.
Two Pea Soup
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 2 pounds smoked ham hocks, or ham bone
- 2 1/3 cups dried split peas
- 3 cups sliced carrots
- 2 minced shallots
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 recipe Peas with Prosciutto (above), optional
- Garnish: rustic toasts, below
Place all of the ingredients, except for the cream, in a stock pot over medium heat. Cover and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove ham hock or bone, and discard. Stir in cream. Add the peas and prosciutto, or if traditional split soup is desired, omit. Serve warm with crusty bread or croutons.
- 1 loaf of rustic Italian bread, sliced
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup melted butter
Heat oven to 375*
Mix butter and olive oil in a bowl, and brush on both sides of bread. Lay bread on baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes on each side, until toasted. Allow to cool and crisp up for 10 minutes.