Saturday, June 11, 2016


 Buttered Toast

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     Our last visit with Uncle Bill contains some vivid memories. I must confess to experiencing some humiliation. Why is it MY uncle who wants to wear his pajama tops all day long? Why is he the only one with food on his face and the gleam of butter dripping on his hand as he eats? But, in retrospect, I'm not sure I have a right to be embarrassment. He is in a memory care unit, surrounded by other elderly people in various stages of dementia. Could anything could be considered humiliating in that particular scenario?
     But there we were. Everyone else seemed to be with the program except my uncle. He was in the dining room, at a table with two other ladies. They made no comments during the meal, which was a welcome relief from the endless Uncle Bill chatter about everything and nothing.
     Uncle Bill had eaten his dinner and was now moving to the long-awaited 2 pieces of toasted bread waiting for him. My family has always had some odd quirks about buttered toast and my sister and I have bemoaned the existence of buttered toast our whole lives. It seemed as though our relatives on my mother's side went into a "Buttered Toast Trance" whenever they enjoyed this delicacy. They would chew resolutely, staring off into space in that Buttered Toast Land that my sister and I were never a part of. They would remain in the BT Trance until all of the toast was gone, and then return to the rest of the conversation and their meal. (If you are a Seinfeld fan, you may remember the man who would do this when the song Desperado came on the radio. Same response, different stimulus.)
     When I arrived, Uncle Bill was in his own version of Buttered Toast Land. In his case, this meant a running commentary on the benefits of buttered toast and periodic and orgasmic groaning, as he expressed his satisfaction and ecstasy from the partaking of the toast.
     "MMM" he moaned. "This is sooo good! If you get it when the toast is right out of the oven, and the butter is soft, it sinks right into the toast! MMMM! AHHH! So good!" (He was actually saying this as he chewed the Buttered Toast, which was a problem for his not-really-sealed-dentures. A lot was going on in Uncle Bill's mouth all at once that involved chewing, groaning, denture flipping, talking and moaning.) It was a sight to behold.
     I listened to more of the Uncle Bill History of Buttered Toast. He scraped away at the surface of the toast with the knife, expounding on the greatness of Buttered Toast.
     "My father used to love Buttered Toast. He would come home in the back of the car.  Dad would be wallowing in the back seat in butter."
     I filed that mental image away in an area of things I do not ever want to revisit in my mind. He finished spreading the butter on his toast and pronounced, "That was the best coverage I ever got."
I am guessing that there is a lot more family history involving Buttered Toast that my sister and I were not privy to know as children. As for me, I know more now than I ever wanted to.

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