Posts Tagged ‘Border Grill’

Daddy’s Little Girl

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

People would stare as we walked down the street. Not because he was famous but because he was different. He walked with a cane and a brace, tilting from side to side with each stride. Somehow he stayed upright. If someone stared too long, he might yell, “Whad’ya lookin’ at? It’s nothin’, it’s polio, I got it when it first came out!” Anyone else yelling at a stranger might come off as aggressive — he had a REALLY loud mouth — but Duke said it with a twinkle in his eye that set the person instantly at ease. It might even turn into a too-long stop-and-chat, but I was used to those.

I’d look up at him with pride and ownership. He was my daddy. Mine being the operative word. My mother told me the story many times. As a tiny preverbal baby, I had my arms thrown around my father’s neck, holding him as tight as I could, looking back at her with eyes that said, “He’s MINE.” As in, not hers. Her interpretation. Well, it was true.

Sometimes in late August or early September we’d go shopping for back-to-school clothes at Hank DeGoniff’s house. Hank’s “house” was a warehouse in seedy Hollywood. And unbeknownst to me at the time, DeGoniff wasn’t his family name. I wasn’t sure why Hank had clothes and winter coats for me along with lots of electronic equipment. But cash was handed over and I’d walk away with some new clothes. There wasn’t even a lot to choose from, but I wasn’t an overindulged child, so I was happy with what I got. I was in my twenties (maybe thirties) before I learned that Hank’s merchandise “fell of the back of a truck,” and goniff was Yiddish for thief.

I’m saying sorry right here and now to my dad (no longer with us), for the moment when, as a three-year old, I nearly had him arrested. We had gone to a movie and it was already quite late at night and I was tired. My mother went to fetch the car and my dad said, stay here with me — but I threw a bratty fit because I had wanted to go with my mom. I started to pout and walk away from him. He kept inching closer and insisting I stand near him. Remember, he was handicapped, not so easy to chase after a kid. And I’m in full brat mode, now not speaking to my father. A crowd began to form thinking he was a stranger trying to kidnap me. He was a LOT older and didn’t look like your regular 1950’s dad. He leaned on his cane to support himself and said to the people, “Don’t worry, this is my daughter, right?” as he looked to me for the confirmation he needed. When I didn’t respond they asked, “Is this your father?” and I said, folding my arms across my chest and facing away in emphatic defiance, “No!” More people gathered and someone urged that the police be called. At that moment, my mother drove up and my father said, “That’s her mother, my wife, she’s here to pick us up.” He pulled me in and we sped off. Not for one moment did he hold that against me. I think he secretly liked and identified with the part of me that was strong, insisting on getting my way. (more…)

Avocado a fruit? Who woulda thunk?

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009


We Californians love our avocados, we do.  We might even take them for granted.  All year we are served or make guacamole.  Some of us even have our own avocado trees.

My dining room table was once my childhood coffee table.  In the 50’s and 60’s, my childhood, I sat on the ground close to the top of what was then a low coffee table, scarfing down my mom’s guacamole.  It was amazing. I was like a dog, watching over my master in danger, glaring at people and never leaving my master’s side, only it was GUACA-fuckin-mole!   She made it at the drop of a hat.  Seriously, the minute someone walked in the house, even if she wasn’t expecting company, she would march to the kitchen in a trance, not speaking, perfect hostess, stepford wife- style, to pull together some fresh guac.  If I remember correctly, and I think I do remember most of her ingredients, she would use Tabasco sauce for the heat/spice, even a touch of mayonnaise and some lemon, and of course onion and tomato.  Not sure if she used garlic but I know someone who does and she raves about her guac.  We all rave about our own guacamole.  It’ s like our own private pissing contest out here in southern California.

I am here to let you know who wins.  It’s my new self-appointed job and anyone reading this is clearly lucky because you have just stumbled on gold.  California Gold, guacamole that is. (more…)