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Posts Tagged ‘catfish’

Memories

Read backward along our posts… We are women haunted by our memories.

Memory is a funny thing. I’ve had many bouts of short-term memory loss (much to the entertainment of my friends), but then there are memories far more vivid than the situation seemed to warrant. There are songs, smells, scenes, even clothes that trigger intense and disorienting reveries.

Today, I wore a shirt that says “We Fired Your Mom” on the back. I just grabbed it out of my footlocker – it’s an ad-T-shirt from The Boat House Grill. I didn’t know which shirt it was ’til I’d unrolled it, and I didn’t really think much of it at first. But it had been buried in that footlocker for most of the year, and as I went about my day, I had a long series of recollections about times spent at The Boat House.

I bought that T-shirt last August. I was at work one day, and something (oddly, that’s one part of the story I’ve forgotten) triggered more than a little panic. I absolutely had to get out of there. At 10:30 in the morning, I just left. Nobody was around, and I don’t even think I left a note. I just had to leave… right then. But where to go on a blisteringly hot summer day? I’d moved out of my house, so I couldn’t go home… “home” at the time was 1/2 hour away, and I did intend to go back to work if I could get my wits about me. And then it hit me. The Boat House. I missed it. And I’d miss it even more once I’d moved. So I took the 1/2 hour drive there (yes, I see the irony). I ate fried catfish and hushpuppies, drank a Dr. Pepper, and bought a T-shirt. As I was leaving, my phone rang. “You coming back?” “Yeah.” “OK; I just wanted to know what to tell people. They’re looking.” “Just tell them I went to lunch.” “You sure? I can handle things if you need to… whatever you’re doing… [nervous laugh]” “Nope. On my way. See you.”

First time I went to The Boat House was with Mary. She’s my mom’s age and was my mentor at my first job as a chemist. Her dietary restrictions are similar to mine, and we were always on a quest for something without wheat or potatoes. So there we found ourselves, eating cornmeal-battered catfish and hushpuppies. Now this wasn’t just your ordinary catfish. This is fresh-water catfish from the lake that’s a stone’s throw from the restaurant. Mild, perfectly cooked, fresh, and tender.

I used to go there with Kirby, another friend from work. He’d get the veggie burger and fries. I’d steal a couple of fries (two or three is about the limit), and he’d have a hushpuppy or two. After a few trips there, it was just routine. Sit down at the table, trade around the side dishes, dig in. Whoever stands up first has to get refills of 1/2-coke-1/2-sprite for me and 1/2-diet-coke-1/2-dr-pepper for him. And napkins. We always needed more napkins. We went there with an interview candidate once. The candidate gave us a very odd look when we started shifting our food around. While that memory is funny, I also remember showing my unbelievable ignorance of a chemistry fact during the conversation. One of those still-smarting stupid moments. After K and I switched companies, we kept trying to come up with another reason to go there… I think we only managed it once.

But I managed it, on my own, on one of my last days in Austin. And I have a T-shirt to prove it.

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