One of the oddest things I’ve found about my husband, Chef, is his mother. No, this woman is easily the best mother I’ve ever seen, but after hearing the multitude of stories about things that she has endured at Chef’s hands as a child, I wonder how she survived raising him. I think I would have lost my mind sometime around Chef’s high school graduation. Added to these facts is that while Chef has a ton of qualities he obviously inherited from his mother, they don’t share the same sense of humor at all. Sue tends to be straight-laced and serious. She’s elegant, classy, and super intelligent. And every time she and Chef interact with one another, she always seems to be just a little bit confused by Chef’s sense of humor…Frankly, it is somewhat hilarious to watch.
One of my favorite stories is the time that Sue, Chef’s mom, drove Chef, his younger brother Anthony, and baby sisters Marie and Layla from San Antonio, Texas to Altus, Oklahoma to attend the graduation of a friend from a college there. Chef was about 8 years old at the time, and was already gaining a reputation in the family for being precocious and mischievous.
Staying at an affordable motel, the weekend had gone blessedly well, and the little family was packing up the car in the wee hours of the morning to head back home. Sue, unaware of what she was unleashing, had mentioned a couple of times that the clutch on her car was so tight and hard to push in, that her leg was getting tired, and Chef had decided that he would help her out. While everyone else was busy with packing preparations and breakfast chaos, Chef slipped silently out, and getting some pliers from the tool box in Sue’s trunk, he wiggled his little body underneath their car, and set about loosening the clutch so his mom would be able to drive the long miles ahead in comfort.
Chef’s Uncle Joe had always included him and his brother Anthony in the general masculine chores that had to be performed in the household, so Chef was able to locate the clutch mechanisms with ease, and he set about to quickly adjust the bolt, his heart pounding with the excitement, knowing his mother was going to truly love his gift to her. It took only a minute, and Chef quickly returned the pliers to the tool box and joined his family while they hastily packed up the car, and climbed in.
Sue, after settling everyone in their places, inserted the key, and pushed down the clutch….Thunk!! The clutch easily responded to the pressure of her foot…and then stayed there, lacking the strength to return to its original position.
Chef tells me that the thunking sound of the clutch matched the thunking sound his heart made in his chest when his mother exclaimed, “What the…??!!”
Chef, looking to insure that his innocence not be questioned, asked, in a rather guilty voice, “What did you do???”
Getting out of the car, Sue was at a complete loss to even begin to know where to look, and finally broke down and called the auto club she subscribed to.
Hours later, the mechanic arrived and within minutes, the problem had been located and fixed.
In a somewhat accusing tone, the mechanic insinuated to Sue that being a woman, she’d obviously been trying to adjust her own clutch, and should leave the fixing of her car to the men in the world. It was the 1960′s, and such masculine opinions weren’t only acceptable, but predominant in the world at the time. Sue endured the mechanic’s snide insinuations, bold accusation, and general snarkyness, then thanked him for fixing the problem, and the delayed trip was once more in motion.
Driving down the road, Chef, thinking he may have just scraped by this one undetected, casually asked his mom what she thought had happened.
“You happened, son. But I’m not going to be mad at you because you were trying to help me out. But next time, don’t work on my car, okay?”
Chef has a really cool mom, wouldn’t you agree?