Browsing Archives for January 2008

A few nights ago we received a very special visit from the Oracle Known as Steve.  If you didn’t know this already, the Oracle Known as Steve has an amazing breadth and depth of knowledge that surpasses the average human such as myself in both intensity and fervor by about seventeen football fields. In our early married days, the Country Doctor consulted The Oracle Known as Steve with a regularity that makes Metamucil look like white flour. The Oracle advised us on everything from furniture placement to produce selection. I still don’t know how we ever could have limped through our first years of marriage without him.

As we visited with The Oracle and his beautiful family, I prepared a fabulous dinner including fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and some broccoli and cauliflower sauteed in garlic, wine and olive oil. Yeah, I know the broccoli and cauliflower in wine and garlic wasn’t really what you were expecting – but it was all I had!

Just as I was about to finish up the potatoes and put this lovely meal on the table, The Oracle Known as Steve stopped me dead in my tracks with one of those life altering questions that makes you regret everything you have ever done and want to start completely over…from scratch…from the beginning… from the dawn of time. He asked me…

“Are you going to make any gravy?”

To the average family member I would have probably responded by saying,

“Get out of my kitchen now!”


“No! I’m not, you gotta problem with that?”


“Do you want to do all the cooking from now on?”

But since it was the Oracle – I fell prostrate on the floor in front of him and said, “Um… no… I wasn’t – w-w-w-would you like to make some…?”

And he commanded me saying, “Wherest is thy flour?”

As you may know, The Oracle Known as Steve and The Country Doctor are both from a large rambling family of nine siblings raised on the rugged Kansas Prairie in a tiny farmhouse where they thrived on activities such as “Knife Trife” a game involving a butter knife, a living room and three wrestling brothers (The CD, THE OKAS, and Mr. Panties). They also learned how to make massive meals – emphasis on the word MASSIVE to feed this family. As the family grew up and got married and had kids – the meals got more and more MASSIVE. During the making of these massive meals, The Oracle Known as Steve can often be found, behind the stove or manning the grill or stirring the soup. His favorite cooking utensils are – king sized black plastic garbage bags – for mixing salads… Industrial sized vats for making soup and sauces… and evidently he needs the back-end of a pick up truck in order to make his gravy.

I did not have the back-end of a pick up truck to offer him, so I gave him my largest frying pan – the one I use to make entire meals for my family of six and watched in growing fear and panic as he started to make his gravy.

I won’t describe the entire process, but I will tell you that he started with a gallon of milk and this is how much was left when he was done.

At some point he made the sad mistake of jumping from making gravy to instructing me as to how to make gravy and that is where I sort of started making a few very small and very discreet faces.

I made this one when he demanded a whisk… no, not that one… a better whisk. Do you have a better whisk? I will need a better one than that one…

Then… he asked for some starchy water from the potatoes I was still boiling.

I said, “Can I just dip some out for you as my potatoes are still cooking?”

He said, “No, I want the dregs at the bottom with the little chunks of potatoes…”

He went on and on about how the dregs from the bottom of the potato water make much better gravy and blah blah blah blah!

My face sort of started to melt into this…

Oh is that right Mr. Oracle?

Tell me more about your potato water Mr. Oracle, and your dregs and your expertise at making gravy because HELLO – I am the mother of four boys and you are not the mother of ANY boys and my guess is that I have made about sixteen industrial sized vats of gravy compared to your single super large frying pan full!

The Oracle Known as Steve never even flinched.

Finally – the potatoes were mashed – the Oracle Known as Steve got his dreggy water, and finished making his gravy and he summoned unto me saying, “Fetcheth me a large containereth big enough to hold his vast ocean of gravy.”

“And Lo – I did fetch unto him a plastic pitcher for ice tea and he did filleth it uppeth to the toppeth and then we filled another smaller pitcher uppeth to the toppeth and then the gravy ceased and there was no more.

While topping off the large pitcher of gravy, I came to an new understanding of the term “gravy boat” as clearly, that is what we really needed…an actual boat… no wait… we really needed a gravy ark.

I placed the smaller gravy pitcher and the rest of the food on the table and dinner was served.

The food was great. The company was fine. We laughed, we talked, we hemmed and hawed, we chortled, we gasped, we heaved, we hoed, we looked at the large pitcher of gravy in awe and wonder, and then we heaved some more, we ate and ate and ate. After a piece of pie and some ice cream we cleared the table. This is what was left…

One piece of my delicious fried chicken.

One half pitcher of gravy.


As soon as the Oracle Known as Steve left, his precious dreggy potato water left-over gravy went straight into the trash.

Hey – everyone knows that gravy is never as good the second day!

It’s not easy being the caregiver to one of the most beautiful creatures on God’s green earth.

People hate me because of it sometimes.

I hear them whispering.  I know they can’t stand it.

But it’s NOT MY FAULT!

I didn’t ask God to give me a beautiful cat.  I just asked for one that would suit me.  

I can’t help it if God decided that a beautiful cat suited me.  

Hey!  That was God’s call.  Not mine!

Don’t be jealous.  

At least you get to look at her on my blog.  

Dear Readers,

CDW is struggling… STRUGGLING… to come up with things to say these days.  She has written this blog for almost two years now without flinching once, but suddenly a brick wall has loomed up in front of her and she can’t stop beating her head against it.  All she has for you today and the next day and yes possibly many days after that are her most embarrassing moments.  She is sickened by this, but she has searched both her innards and her outtards  for something… anything less obvious and has come up empty.  She also has absolutely NO IDEA why she is referring to herself in the third person.  Please send help.  Soon.
Embarrassing Story Number One – The Walt Bodine Show
The Country Doctor and I were living in Kansas City just a few blocks from KU Med.  I had at least one baby… maybe two and was cocooned inside of a nest of babies, toddlers, diapers, breast pads, and baby wipes.  I had also become a radical devotee of the radio program called The Walt Bodine Show.
You see, we did not have a television back then.  Neither one of us owned a TV when we got married and since we were such fascinating people and clearly intellectually superior to all the other people in the world, we could not be bothered with getting a TV.  Instead, we listened to the radio…  a lot…
…And wrote stories.  And played stringed instruments on the porch with the forest animals.  And painted murals.  And rescued donkeys.  And collected porridge recipes.  And built creations.  And handcrafted mead.  And went on sunrise hikes to the tops of mountains.  And ambled about the meadow with field bouquets.  And jigged.  And founded a lyrical writing society where the members had to wear filmy white dresses or breeches.  And hosted open mike poetry readings.  And came up with new types of grains to stick inside of multi-grain breads.  And gave our kids unusual names that no one knew how to pronounce or spell.  And collected morning dew.  And yes… it was a very precious time in our lives.
And Walt Bodine was the glue that held it all together.  
Walt Bodine hosted and still hosts a radio program on KCUR, the Kansas City public station.  He interviews visiting authors, wildlife experts, local chefs, parade organizers, colorful characters, political pundits, obscure poets, playwrites, artists, former sitcom actors… stuff like that.  At the time I was listening to The Walt Bodine Show, it seemed like Walt was about a hundred years old and guess what?  He is still hosting  the same show.  
Walt is a very endearing man, his voice and mannerisms are very homey.  You feel like you are listening to a beloved uncle interviewing a famous person… except your uncle doesn’t realize he is talking to a famous person… he thinks he is talking to his neighbor across the back alley… and after a while you also feel like the famous person is your neighbor across the back alley.  That is the magic of Walt Bodine.
Right before we moved away from Kansas City, some moron at KCUR decided that it was time to replace Walt with a new, upbeat, young, hip, happenin’, talk show host and the station attempted to fire Walt Bodine.  
The entire city staged a revolt.
Well… maybe not the entire city… but there were protests in front of the station.  People hoisted signs above their heads and shouted in unison “Don’t be Mean to Walt Bodine!”  You see… it rhymes… and it saved Walt… and he went right back to hosting his show.  For once, the right person triumphed.
Anyway…. after Walt interviewed his guest, he would often open up the show to call-in questions.  One time, after I had been listening to the show for a few months, and really felt that Walt was my dearest friend, I decided to call into the show with a question.  I was kind of nervous and panicky about it, and to give myself a little protection, I decided I would use a fake name.  I decided I would call myself, Melissa.
The subject they were discussing that day had something to do with pregnancy and delivery or something like that…  I can’t remember the details… but I felt there was a viewpoint that was not being expressed and I certainly felt that my opinion would be a startling revelation to Walt and his audience.  So I called in…
Screener – Hello, this the Walt Bodine Show…
Me – Hi!!!!!!!
Screener – What is your name?
Me – Uh… Melissa!!!!
Screener – Okay… Melissa… Where are you calling from?
Me – Uh… Kansas City, Kansas.
Screener – Okay… Walt will introduce you in a few seconds and then you just go ahead and ask your question.
Me – OKAY!!!!!
Walt Bodine – Okay… now we go to Melissa calling from Kansas City Kansas.  Melissa how are you today?
Me – (silent)
Walt Bodine – Melissa… Are you there?  
Me – (silent)
Walt Bodine – Melissa?  Can you hear me Melissa?
Me – (silent)
Walt Bodine – Can she hear me?  Do we have a bad connection?  Melissa?  Is anyone there?
Me – Oh!   
Walt Bodine – Melissa?
Me – Walt Bodine???  Hi!!!!  This is RECHELLE!!!
Walt Bodine – Oh…Rechelle??
Walt Bodine – Oh… okay… Melissa…   

Me – Yes… Melissa… that is my name.
Walt Bodine – Okay…. Melissa?  Do you have a question for us today Melissa?
Me – Yes….I… Uh… Oh… Um…
And I went on and on trying to back track… trying to make it all go away… trying to not be such a heaving idiot, but it was too late.  I held onto the slender tendril of hope that no-one I knew had been listening to the show that day.   A few weeks later, I went back to Lawrence to visit my sister and I dropped by the Lawrence Arts Center where I used to work.   
Me – Hi everyone!  
Entire staff of Art Center – Hi Rechelle.
Me – How are you all?
Entire staff of Art Center – Good… we heard you on the radio.
Me – What?
Entire Staff of Art Center – We heard you on the Walt Bodine Show… Melissa  (raucous laughter ensues)
I never called into The Walt Bodine Show again.  
But I still listened everyday.