I thought about you last night as I tried to peel a hard boiled egg. I never peel them right. They always end up missing chunks, looking more like jagged rocks than eggs. Mom, how did you do it? Yours were always perfect. No missing chunks, no bits of eggshell. Perfectly pristine, shiny and ovate. And to top it off, you always made my eggs the way I liked them, pasados por agua, soft boiled. I’ve tried to make them like that. Always end up with warm egg yolk on my fingers, dripping into the sink. How did you do it, Mom? A perfectly timed egg, pasado por agua, perfectly peeled, chopped up and served in that little glass bowl with just the right little pinch of salt every morning before I went to school?
With everything else you had to do every morning – getting me up and out of bed and dressed, making Dad’s thermosfull of cafe, my cafe con leche, getting yourself ready for work, my lunch, Dad’s lunch, your lunch and my little bag of Ovaltine and sugar – you still had the time to make me the perfect egg, watch me eat it and then wash the bowl and spoon. You still had time to check my hair, straighten my collar, kiss me on the forehead and bless me with a smile and a “Have a good day, Mi niño.”
I know. Today’s your 90th birthday and I’m here talking about boiled eggs. But I could just as easily be talking about a million other things you did for me and a million other things that remind me of you. I could just as easily go on and on about the things that made you happy or, even, the things that made you mad. I could tell you about how the orchids in my yard remind me of you. Or about the shirt you made me that hasn’t fit me for over 20 years that’s still in my closet there next to new dress shirts and that still gets dry cleaned every so often. And remember that time you took me to the beach and on our way home and a bug bit your leg and you lifted it and your foot came off the brake pedal and we hit the car in front of us that was waiting for the bridge to close? Yeah. I could talk about that too.
There isn’t much that doesn’t make me think about you and if it were just boiled eggs that reminded me of you I’d eat boiled eggs three times a day, seven days a week.
I guess I just wanted to say Happy Birthday, Mami. I just wanted to let you know how special today is. How special you still are and how special you will always be.
Thank you for making boiled eggs and just about everything else so special for me.