Grandpa never complained when grandma burned dinner even though she burned dinner a lot

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a family member, who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.

My grandmother was a lucky woman. It's hard to find an easygoing man, and my grandfather was an absolute peach. He was a simple man. As long as he had his easy chair and his favorite television channel, he was content. Nothing rattled him. Not even when my grandmother burned his dinner to a crisp more often than not.

My grandfather never complained to my grandmother about anything. For dinner, she could serve him a boiled shoe on a paper plate, and he'd smile and thank her. He ate anything she put down in front of him, and he ate it with gusto.

When my grandmother messed up the ingredients or burned dinner, my grandfather held her and consoled her with patience and tender words. He never grew angry or complained about being hungry after a long day at work.

My mother told me about a time when my grandmother fried fish for my grandfather. The phone rang, and my grandmother rushed to answer it. My grandmother loved to talk on the telephone that was tethered to the wall in the corner of the dining room far from the tiny kitchenette that held the stove.

As soon as she started talking on the phone, she forgot about the fish sizzling in the frying pan. By the time she got off the phone, the kitchen was thick with smoke, and the fish was the color of asphalt on one side. The other side looked okay, but it tasted just as bad as the blackened side. Besides, there was no way to extricate the good from the bad.

My grandfather ate it anyway.

"Don't worry," my grandfather told my grandmother. "After I finish eating these fish, you'll never have to see them again." He told her dinner was delicious. Then he thanked her for making it and retired to his easy chair in front of the television set for the rest of the night.

When my grandmother told him she was afraid she would burn dinner again, he told her again not to worry.

"If you do, you do," he said, "and I'll still eat it and enjoy every bite."

My grandfather was very different from my father, who always gave my mother a run for her money when it came to expecting dinner on the table. My father would never accept a meal that wasn't cooked to perfection, and my mother threw many a perfectly good meal in the trash when he refused to eat anything substandard.

"That would never fly in my household," my mother told me. "Whenever I mess up while cooking dinner, your father complains all night long. They say a young woman looks for a man to marry who reminds her of her father. Well, I wish that were true. I'd be in heaven if I was married to a man who never complained."

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