Liver and Onions – February 5, 2021

You either love liver and onions or you hate it.  I grew up with liver and onions.  And fried chicken gizzards, stew that was more potatoes and carrots than beef, and wings and necks before all the chicken wings flew into sports bars from Buffalo.  I don’t enjoy it every week, but circumstances this Wednesday just worked in my favor.  Still, few faced with sitting down to liver and onions react with indifference.  

“What’s for dinner?”

“Liver and onions.”

You’re gonna hear, “Ugh!  Think I’ll grab a bite later downtown.”

Or, “Um-um! Been a while since I had liver and onions. Let’s get to it!”

It’s rather like iced tea.  In Claxbury Corners there is no “proper” iced tea, folks being rather evenly divided between “sweet tea” and “unsweet” tea.  There are variations, tea with lemon, tea with mint, and un-tea disguised as ice-water.  We don’t choose sides and go to war over it. That’s just the way it is.  Says something about this place. Tolerance.

Fire Department Chief Drew Martin and I debated sitting down to one of the open tables at Madge’s Restaurant for supper.  Seeing as the place was busy, we parked ourselves instead at the long counter.  The lovely Corrine Waltham scooted over to take our orders.  Suspect Corrine’s speed was because she has an eye for Drew, a helpless widower then for about five years, and she was herself unattached at the time due to unfortunate circumstances.

“What’ll you boys have tonight?” Corrine asked.

Drew took a deep breath, remembered it was liver and onions Wednesday and replied, “Corrine, I think I’ll just have some of yesterday’s barbecue, if there’s any left.”

“Sure.  On a whole wheat bun? Some chips and a pickle on the side?”

“Why yes.  And tea…”

“Sweetened,” interrupted Corrine, showing she really was paying attention to Drew. Addressing me with her voice but not her eyes, she said, “And you, Mr. OpEd, you’ll have the liver and onions, tea unsweetened with lemon, right?”

“Yes’m,” I replied.

“Won’t take but a minute.  I’ll get your teas and be right back with your orders.”

Handsome Drew watched Corrine fly back to the kitchen.

“So Drew, what’s really on your mind?  Wasn’t to chat about the Cougars’ Conference chances this year.”

“See where Tackertt has been helping Coach Elkins.  He make those boys into outfielders?”

“Have to remember these are high school lads, sophomores and juniors.  No seniors returning this year.  About as good as any other school in the conference has.  Two of’m good sticks too.  Good offense.  Defense will come along.  Depends on the pitching.”

“Good.”

“Something else on your mind though?”

“Fire Department Auction coming up. In July.  Want to talk about support from the Clarion.

“I own the paper Drew, but I’m retired.  Lawrence is Editor now, runs the paper.  Have a chat with him.”

“Starting early this year. Want to make sure it’s okay.  Need a new stove for the station house.”

“Lawrence is still your man. Early, late, Lawrence will do you up right.”

“Okay.”

“Might point you to a deal on appliances locally.”

“Citizens feel more a part of the department if they’re contributing.”

“Doesn’t’ mean you can’t get a break from a local dealer.  Use the extra for something else.  Citizens still see they’re buying the station a new stove.”

“Right.”

Corrine sat supper down in front of Drew and me.  Seems it took her a bit longer to properly situate Drew’s plate.  If she took any longer, I imagine she’d commence to feeding the man.  When she finally remembered she had other customers, albeit less interesting than Drew, she went back to the main dining area.  I dug into Wednesday’s special.  Don’t fault Drew for his choice.  Tolerance, remember? Tuesday’s barbecue is even better on Wednesday.  But this was liver and onions.  It was dinner at Madge’s or a trip to Filo’s to restock a naked refrigerator at home.

“You’re smoking me Drew. Reporter’s nose. Something else. Something troubling you.”

“Yes.”

“Spill it.”

“My son gets out next week.  Contingent on a confirmed place of employment for Probation Office records.”

“Well, that’s good news.”

“Chances you can get him a job at the Clarion?  Anything?  Janitoring?”

“Lawrence is still your man. He’s as civic-minded as you.  He’s got a need, he’ll see your son gets a shot at it.”

“If he doesn’t?”

“Let’s see then, if.  Police Chief O’Connor might be able to help.”

“Chief arrested the boy.  Testified at the trial.” 

“That’s his job.”

“Why would he help Robbie?”

“O’Connor isn’t against people. He’s against breaking the law.  Giving folks a decent shot helps keep them right with the law. In his best interest.  In the best interest of everybody.  Your boy going up broke his heart but it was his job, Drew. Lawrence hasn’t got something right now, O’Connor will help.”

“You can help.  As Mayor.”

“Not Mayor yet.  Talk to Lawrence.  Then O’Connor.  They’ll help.  I’m sure.”

“Really?”

“Comes to it, me too. We all will.  Whole town will.  You know that.”

“Thanks.  You don’t know how much this means.”

“I can guess.”

I could.

Liver and onions were exceptional. Tea was cold.  Drew and I went back to talking about Cougars’ baseball.  Passed on Lemon Meringue pie.  Not knowing at the time what June and Leron were going to pull together, I didn’t bring it up.  Maybe should have.

— Notes —

Good stick: a good batsman.

Returning Seniors – Suggests some top talent graduated the year before.

Flew in from Buffalo. “Buffalo wings” – a staple in “sports bars.” Chicken wings used to be cheap. Demand to feed bar patrons made it so at present, now trendy, wings are as expensive as thighs, costlier than drumsticks.

Published by spwilcen

Retired career IT software engineer, or as we were called in the old days, programmer, it's time to empty my file cabinet of all the "creative" writing accumulated over the years - toss most of it, salvage and publish what is worthwhile.

14 thoughts on “Liver and Onions – February 5, 2021

  1. Great story. Liver and onions, which I love, is still cheap as chips over here because it hasn’t yet transitioned to trendy food. Used to be the same with oxtail until some high fallutin’ chef promoted it on his TV show and you now need a mortgage to buy it!
    That little detail about Corrine giving his plate extra attention was clever…great observational humour.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Sir Hobbo. Yeah. Oxtail. Great soup! But now all this bone broth health info stuff, costs as much as cheaper steak or good roast. For essentially bones! Have a super evening, sir.

    1. It’s part IV of an ongoing piece that doesn’t warrant entry to “creative” works (now retired) or or aggregation. Each installment almost stands alone. Thanks for looking in.

    1. Tasty if you’re carnivorous. But half bone, so in the olden days they were food for the poorer folk. Now while watching the Tuscon Turtles go up against the Albany Argonauts folks “suddenly” like to gnaw on them slathered with regional barbecue sauce, Bleu cheese or Ranch dressing, or the latest Scoville insanity pepper sauce. Demand up, prices up, only the more affluent can afford them. Not much for shaking hands with and I’m pretty certain the chickens aren’t overly enthused with the whole idea. Thanks for popping-in and rattling my cage.

  2. That takes me back … liver and onions – the school dinner we all loved to hate! Not something I will probably have again but remember eating it in its day and was quite tasty especially with some mashed potato with crunchy onions added!

    1. Your sides here sound scrumptious. School lunches are grossly underrated. When I was given (what seems now a paltry sum) to eat the cafeteria’s fare instead of carrying my bologna or PB&J, it was absolutely wonderful. My ma could cook. But the ladies at the school had a special way. I even liked their green beans. Back then, no hamburgers, no pizza, no tacos. Real food. One elementary school had a spaghetti that to this day (in memory, of course) remains the supreme example of spaghetti artistry! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Good day and fine dining to you.

    1. Thank you Don Cabrera for your kind comment. I think you would like Claxbury. Madge’s has a Chicken Marbella you would find delightful. Stop in one day. High school has no “soccer.” In this day, it might catch-on. They’ll be needing a coach though…

      1. I’m your man! I coached the futbol (soccer) team of a high school in Miami when I was working on a case, so I’ve experienced and love the sport. Oh, and I don’t know if you follow NFL (I don’t but the Superball is sort of exciting, especially to us here in Europe who do not understand why American “football” is even called football when they use their hands) but I was glad to discover this morning that a Florida team won!
        All the best to you,
        FBC.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: