Browsing Archives for The Oracle Known as Steve

It has been a while since I was strong enough to speak of the Oracle Known as Steve and the many, many things he has taught me over the years. Things like how to stand back and watch him as he takes over my kitchen and demands a whisk… no a better whisk… do you have a better whisk? Things like being on the Oracle’s team during huge family Thanksgiving Trivial Pursuit games when he will insist he knows the answer and I will insist he is wrong and he will insist he is right and even though I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is wrong, he will convince our entire team that he is right and then when his answer is wrong, it will be my fault for not being forceful enough in my argument.

I started learning things from the Oracle back when the Country Doctor and I were dating. In fact, the Country Doctor and I had our second date at the Oracle Known as Steve’s house. The Oracle was out of town and the Country Doctor invited me over to make dinner for him. Well.. he was actually going to make dinner for me, but I just kind of took over and then I demanded a whisk… no a better whisk… do you have a better whisk? At that point the Country Doctor realized that he was not dating his mother, he was dating his brother, and things kind of got weird, but then I forgot to put the ricotta cheese in the lasagna, and he was greatly relieved that he was not dating his brother, but just a spacey freak girl who worked in a health food co-op and had dreams of opening a theater in a barn that was surrounded by acres of wild flowers and the actors made honey during the day when they weren’t spinning wool into fantastic organic sweaters and caring for orphans and homeless people and writing books that made them all famous so that they could each build sweet little stone bungalows around the barn theater where they wrote and produced extremely compelling plays that made them even more famous and then they made quilts and fine linens and and sold eggs and had babies and loved nature and did a lot of modern dance steps and there was much frolicking and joy.

A few months after that dinner where I explained all my complex barn/theater/honey/quilts/famous/babies/dream, the Country Doctor (who was not yet a doctor but just a guy trying to decide whether or not to even go to medical school, but I will call him the Country Doctor just to make it easier) called me to tell me about an upcoming party.  The Oracle Known as Steve was throwing a huge post Missouri/KU football bash at his house and the CD wanted me to come.  I was kind of nervous about this gathering, because it would be the first time I would meet most of his family and also because it was a big party which was never really my kind of thing.  I went to a few massive parties my freshman year in college and quickly decided that it was not really something I was interested in.  I even crashed a party at the Lawrence Holidome with a bunch of girlfriends because we heard that Andrew McCarthy and Matt Dillon were going to be there and guess what!  They were there!  I even have a picture… somewhere… in some box of crap to prove it.  Still the whole red punch with vodka scene never appealed to me and I quickly found my niche with a small group of friends who preferred movies or just hanging out and being stupid to going to huge beer parties.  
Yes I know, I was a dork. 
The Oracle Known as Steve was renting a tiny house from an old lady named Pearl.  Normally I would say “elderly lady” or “grandmotherly type” but Pearl was an “old lady” in the truest sense.  She pestered the Oracle constantly.  She did not allow parties and kept a careful eye out for any unapproved overnight guests.  She drove the Oracle up the wall with her intrusive manner, but the house was cheap and the Oracle was not around much to be bothered by her so they managed to get along.
But the KU/Mizzou game was another matter.  The KU/Mizzou rivalry is even more ferocious than the KU/K-State rivalry for the Kansas Jayhawks.  It goes way back before the Civil War when Missouri was a slave state and Kansas was determined to enter the union as a free state. In order to prevent Kansas from becoming a free state, Missouri  put together a militia that came to Lawrence and ransacked a few buildings and set them on fire.  Shortly thereafter a free state lawmaker got beat up by a pro-slavery lawmaker in the capitol building followed by John Brown hacking a bunch of pro-slavery men to death with broad swords in a field, then there was more fighting and more death on both sides which is why Kansas is one of the reasons for the start of the Civil war and why it is often referred to as “Bleeding Kansas” in the history books.  Kansas hates Missouri, and Missouri hates Kansas and now this is all worked out each year on the football field and that game is celebrated a little more thirstily than others.
All of my clothes were weird back then.  (Not during the Civil War, during the early 1990′s).  I was going through my thrift store fashion period.  I preferred to think of it as “vintage” but it was really more “flea market”.  I was working in a health food co-op and at the Lawrence Arts Center and I did not need to look “normal” or “standard” in my work clothes.  In fact everyone I knew tended towards the bizarre in their apparel, or at the very least to granola-ish.  After much debate and the flinging of every item in my closet to the ground of my bedroom, I finally decided on a black pleated short skirt, a pair of dark opaque tights, and a pin striped men’s suit coat over a t-shirt.  I knew intuitively that this get-up was all wrong, but there was something in me that insisted that I had to be “me” with these people, and “me” was not a KU sweatshirt and a pair of jeans with a cute pair of Jayhawk earrings.  In fact, it still isn’t.  I still don’t own a single KU shirt.  But I have plenty of pairs of opaque tights!
 
I drove myself to the party and met the Country Doctor there.  The party was pretty uncomfortable for me.  The Country Doctor was glad I was there, but he was also determined to talk to every single person at the party, in a behavior I am now used to and refer to as “running for office”  He did not seem very worried if I was enjoying myself or had someone to talk to.  He just kind of left me and went off to “run for office” while I tried desperately to fade into the old lathe and plaster walls of Pearl’s house.  I talked to the Oracle a little and eventually met the rest of his family, none of whom were wearing opaque tights or men’s suit coats.  As the evening progressed and the kegs were drained, the party got rowdier and rowdier.  At one point a very nice-looking red headed guy who was wearing jeans and a cowboy shirt, which was at least somewhat unique garb for that crowd, grabbed me by the waist and spun me around the Oracle’s tiny dining room in an excellent swing dance to some traditional country tune.  The guy could really dance well and I had a great time with him but then he muttered something about his recent break-up with his fiancee and he left the party.  
A few minutes later I started hearing rumors that the Country Doctor was fighting someone on the lawn outside.  I went out and saw him wrestling some hulking dark mass to the ground.  I decided right then that it was time for me to go.  I furtively walked to my car wanting to quietly disappear without being noticed, but the Oracle saw me
leaving and begged me to take the Country Doctor home.  I didn’t know what to do, but figured it was better if I took him home than him driving himself home.  Seconds later the Oracle hauled his brother into my car and I drove him towards his house.  A few blocks down the road the Country Doctor looked up abruptly, shouted “Stop” threw open the car door and hurled all over the street and all over my car.  
After I dropped him off, I quickly determined that there was not much of a future for the Country Doctor and myself and I wondered how I could track down that cute swing dancing red head.
The next morning, the Country Doctor showed up at the health food co-op where I worked.  He looked pretty awful and was extremely apologetic.  He walked into the grocery store with a bucket of soapy water and a scrubbing brush.  In front of all the customers and employees he told me he was there to clean out my car.  And he did.  And I decided  I would give him one more chance.  One more.  Then I was going to find the red headed swing dancer.
The end.

Hanging the Oracle

April 7th, 2008

Oh Dear! That doesn’t sound right does it?!?

I don’t really mean “HANG the oracle

Oh no! I would never even think of HANGING the Oracle.

He is far to valuable to me! Why, if I were to HANG the Oracle, who would the Country Doctor consult when he has a problem to which his wife CLEARLY KNOWS THE ANSWER???

But he has been sitting there… on the floor… staring at the opposite wall for about six months now and it really is time to put him in his proper place.

It’s just that I’m not really sure where his proper place is? I tried placing the Oracle both above and below darling pictures of my boys as toddlers. But that seemed a bit out of whack.

You can just tell by looking at him that he is none too pleased with this idea.

So I laid the Oracle down so we could both have a rest and think things over.

And as I stepped away – something about this particular spot spoke to me… It was as if the Oracle himself was whispering in my ear saying…

Here….

Here….

This is my home….

This is my spot…

So I said a prayer…

And I lit a candle…

And I tried to clear my mind of all distractions…

And I hammered a nail into the wall…

Then I had a snack.

(Don’t tell the Oracle about that snack part.)

Perfect!

He seems to be at peace here don’t you think???

And I find that I am at peace too.

A deep abiding peace that will comfort me every time I step in here to… to… well…to “pay my respects to the Oracle.”

Which is a actually a euphemism for… for…

Okay then…

goodbye.

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!”

or…

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

or…

“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.

Ahem…

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!