One of my fondest memories from living in England was staying for six months in a very old English manor house in Oxford when we first arrived. When you are in a military family, it was the moving that got to you after a while. Girlfriends, schools, countries; always changing.
So when we arrived in England, we ended up stationed at Upper Heyford Air Force Base (formerly RAF Upper Heyford.) But before base housing was available to us, we stayed at The Elms. The old couple that ran the place were simply the best.
My stepfather epitomized patience: steady as she goes. Totally unlike myself, Mr. Volatile personified. Sky high one minute, way down in the dumps the next. Mr. Stokes mad Dad look like me.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were served in a white-laced tablecloth dining room, and coffee and pastries were taken in the large den with a fireplace I could walk into. Sunday lunch was the only meal not provided because the kitchen was closed.
But Agnes, the old cleaning woman who also helped the manager with maintenance, was my buddy. She had white hair, and the biggest reddest lips I have ever seen this side of Daisy Duck.
She would go into the kitchen and prepare my Sunday lunch with slices of lamb, beef, and chicken. Along with a basket of different warm breads She would serve a myriad of roasted vegetables from the Chef’s garden. There was always a sauceboat of one sauce or another for drizzling on the vegetables such as vinaigrettes and beurre blanc.
After all, they were British.
But the very best of all was my favorite dessert.
Agnes would give me a small saucer of warm Bird’s custard with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream topped with a spoonful of Bonne Maman Raspberry Preserves.
Sundays were also super because invariably, dinner would consist of Roast Beef, mashed potatoes topped with the darkest, richest beef gravy, and a mound of Yorkshire pudding. I enjoyed Sunday Dinner best of all because after we ate, we would go sit in the den by the huge fireplace and watch Coronation Street, the very popular British soap opera.
There would be twenty people silently enjoying the fire, and my sister would be the only one talking.
I took great pride in assimilating into different cultures seamlessly. I have a malleable mindset that allows me to instinctively know and practice acceptable behaviour no matter where I am.
Another gift from Mom and Dad.
Karen and I will be watching the Super Bowl later on today, and our little spread will consist of salsa, guacamole, chips, chicken egg rolls, and vegetable spring rolls. Also chicken wings with a garlic soy-pepper-brown sugar glaze that will put lead in your pencil.
It is impossible to ignore the Rams’ monster defense.
The more of the hype I hear, the more lopsided the game sounds.
Those whacky Cincinnati Bengals will play and WIN and I say 24-21 will be the final score.