Corn everywhere. Oh, the horror...
Before you start in on me, just let me say that it could’ve been so much worse. Whoever does the obituaries for The Courier could be proofing Kay’s write up about me. – “Mrs. Hayter, do you really want to mention that he didn’t like cats?”
Fortunately, the mishap had nothing to do with cats. Had to do with pigs and corn. In that order. I was digging through our packed freezer department looking for my TV remote when I dug out a couple of gallon Zip Locks containing baby backs. They were bound to be old, ‘cause I had not written a date on ‘em. I believe it was 2006 when I started writing dates on stuff before I froze it.
I decided to set the ribs out to thaw before continuing my remote search. (Turned out, the remote was sitting atop the dryer.) I normally do a lot of prep before smoking ribs, but this was a lucky find. Just seconds before I thought I was rib-less.
The ribs were still frozen in parts when I tossed ‘em into the smoker. I planned to let ‘em smoke for three hours before chunking them on the grill. I like my ribs charred on the outside. – What? Yes, I hurt my foot. I’m getting to that.
So, I had the ribs in the smoker when Virginia calls to ask Kay and me if we wanted sit outside with her and Freeman and their two-year-old great-grandson, Shane. I could’ve told her that I couldn’t leave the house ‘cause I was cooking, but Virginia would’ve asked what we were having and I would’ve said “Ribs” and she would’ve said, “What time do you want us over?”
Hey, I know the girl. And, I can’t lie to her, ‘cause lying is bad and I’m bad at it. I develop a slight stutter and a weird laugh. So I invited ‘em all over for ribs. Virginia said that she didn’t know if Shane liked ribs, but she knew he liked corn… so now “corn” enters the picture. – What? Yes, I getting to the foot.
So, the Plilers are seated at the table just as smoke starts belching out of the oven. Kay had the oven set on “broil” and was toasting a bunch of buttered ciabatta bread. I forgot about the bread and shut the oven door in passing. That’s when I discovered that flaming, buttered ciabatta puts out more black smoke than burning tires.
We needed no smoke detector to tell us what was happening, but the thing went off anyway, ‘causing the piercing scream that will not die. Kay grabbed the bread pan and ran out the back door. I grabbed a chair and climbed up so I could pound the life out of the smoke detector. I could’ve pressed the button on it, but I was really ticked.
The Plilers are still seated and Shane isn’t even crying. He just stared and looked at his Grandma and gave her the “Uncle Mark is the pretend uncle isn’t he?” look.
Kay eventually returned to the kitchen and instructed me to open the windows in the mudroom for cross ventilation to get all the smoke out. I knew that, but was too busy trying blow on a bowl of corn that I’d set aside for Shane. The kid hates hot corn. So, I took the bowl of corn with me and headed to the mudroom.
There is step-down into our mudroom. I know that because we’ve lived here for over 20 years. But on this one occasion I forgot about the step-down. Blowing on corn can make you forget stuff. Anyway, it was one of those 30-minute falls. On my way down, my first thought was that Kay would have to call Cindy and tell her that I wouldn’t be able to make it for tomorrow’s Mark and Cindy Show 10 to 11 Monday through Thursday on irlonestar.com. (I’ll wait while you grab the pencil on the corner of the desk.)
Then I thought, “What am I saying? The direction I’m headed here, I’ll be breathing, eating and peeing through tubes for the rest of my unnatural life.
Before I hit the floor, I heard the sound made by a thousand marbles as they flew from the ceramic bowls that Kay had perched on the baker’s hutch… the one that I kicked with my once good foot. “Please, let me beat the marbles to the floor.” I was at the “…beat” part of the prayer when I landed.
Everything hurt except my foot. When I looked I saw corn. Oh, the horror. It hung from the ceiling, the wall, and the windows. Some even made it to the floor. I could feel it in my hair. When I looked up, Kay was at my side almost in tears. Shane was standing in the doorway with a strange look of wonder, mingled with excitement, and wore a weird grin that said, “Really?”
The accident did nothing to keep us from eating the ribs. They weren’t my best, but that’s ‘cause the package predated dating. It was late in the night when my swolen foot started giving me trouble. The next afternoon Kay dragged my rear to the Urgent Care place where they x-rayed me and told me that nothing appeared broken. Just put ice on it occasionally and keep it elevated.
Virginia called to check on me that evening. I told her that my foot hurt like everything, but I’d be all right. I could hear Shane jabbering in the background. Virginia said to him, “Shane, Uncle Mark is okay. He told you to stop worrying about him.” When I asked what his response was, she told me that he just said, “Corn.”
And that’s the rest of the story.