Remembering Our Veterans – Thank You For You Sacrifice
Please enjoy this wonderful video of a
 spontaneous victory parade in Honolulu in 1945. 

This morning, with the Sunday papers in hand and my steaming cup of coffee at the ready to power me on, I sifted through various articles looking for inspiration for Monday’s blog.

It is now 3:30 PM and the Sunday papers are read and the coffee long since consumed.  And I am waiting…

Inspiration is the classic two-edged sword.  When it is there, it is the fuel for a writer’s ability to produce content, but a lack of it, when an editing deadline is closing in, is the creative equivalent of having someone slam the door in your face, smashing your nose. 

With the tick, tick, tick of the clock, and the pressure mounting, it is not uncommon for something to pop into your mind — a random thought, an unwelcome mental guest that you cannot expel.  It just happened.

Liver and onions. 

Lambs liver and fried onionsFor me, cooked liver is one of the most awful smells in the culinary world.  It is a unique odor that overwhelms the otherwise great aroma of grilled onions, a smell from county fairs, cookouts and happy times.  There can be only one origin for this unwelcome, stinky, guest thought.  My childhood.

Growing up in Tyler, Texas, I attended public schools.  Throughout elementary — at Birdwell and later at Hogg Junior High — I ate my lunch in the school cafeteria.  It was easier for my working mother to give us the 35 cents for lunch than to make three separate “sack” lunches for her sons.  My brothers were guilty of having deviant tastes in food and neither liked what the other preferred.  I was pretty easy to please as long as it did not include liver. 

I cannot recall the number of times a month that the school district’s dietary dictator, er… director, the nutrition czar equivalent of Genghis Khan, scheduled liver and onions for the elementary school menu, but once was too many.  I do not ever recall it being on the junior high menu.  Maybe a food riot was more of a threat with seventh, eighth and ninth graders.

The school lunch menu was broadcast on the radio but my mother always seemed to forget.  All of us forgot until we arrived in front of the school and opened the car door.  When the cafeteria cooks started cooking the liver and turned on the exhaust fans and that pushed the foul odor into the neighborhood.  Personally, I do not know how the neighbors stood it. 

This was not a whiff of a smell.  This was an in your face, ruin your clothes and make you cry smell.

My mother would only grimace.  “I will bring you lunch before the break,” she would say, in what I came to understand as a tone of voice that combined frustration, anger and exasperation. 

On liver and onions day, I could always tell when the lunch period was near without having to look at the clock.  There was a traffic jam in front of the school as mothers returned with sack lunches.

My wife, a Montreal born and Toronto reared woman of great taste and charm, loves liver and onions.  Too bad we did not know each other in Birdwell Elementary School.  I would have gladly given her mine.