I sure have a fond recall of my family, back when I was growing up in my younger years. Mom did what she could to clothe and feed us, with the main emphasis being her way with food.
My earliest recollection was of me and my brother, sitting on a pile of hot asphalt, when the road needed its yearly paving. I still remember how Mom used to watch those sweaty construction workers, on what was probably the hottest day of the year, pouring that black gold on our very street.
“Come on kids” Mom used to say, as we got our first taste of that freshly poured asphalt! Man that was really living, and to this day, I can’t help but have my stomach start its rumbling when I see a paving machine roll by on the highway.
Mom used to tell us though, “Don’t be Asphalt Chasers“, which was a darn shame seeing as how there was more than enough to go around, and I always had a clean pair of underwear on, in case something went wrong and some doctor needed to check our drawers!
The best part of the week was Sunday. Mom got us hooked on “Road Kill Sunday” with asphalt in many flavors and colors. I still remember how funny it was she spelled Opossum, but that didn’t matter, as long as it got sealed in with its many flavorful juices with Sunday Asphalt being the main course for the whole family! I used to ask Mom, why we couldn’t get it on the other days of the week, but she just said, “Then it wouldn’t be special, would it”? Mom knew just what to say.
Once in a while, I’d start to feel a bit queasy, and had to miss out on school with my friends. Mom just looked worried and checked my temperature, usually proclaiming that I had concocted, “White Line Fever“, which came when I ate asphalt that hadn’t been cooked at the normal temperature, causing her to make a warm Turpentine Tea to ease my pain!
Dad used to get steamed up when Mom forgot the asphalt a cooking, when those soap operas were on TV. She left the asphalt in the oven too long, making it tooth-breaking crunchy, like we used to call it. She had her ways though and got him calmed down by promising him a cold beer, and a hot time on some steamy newly-paved road, which seemed to get him as sweaty as those road workers used to be.
I used to taste asphalt wherever I traveled across this great land. It’s funny how it changed in tastes and consistency depending on where the gravel came from or, the oil itself. Mom used to say that “Texas Crude” was the best taste on the planet, but there were always foreign influences, with a more sandy taste of places far away that entered into my cuisine.
I’ll never know just why eating Asphalt today makes me a bit sad, but it is probably knowing that Mom is doing her part, paving her stretch of Heaven with the good Lord. She is probably staring down on me right now, eating a crunchy piece of Texas Crude, humming a tune, of something she learned far and gone away. She won’t be with me this Sunday for the weekly Road Kill Sunday , but we always share a wishbone with her picture, hoping and praying for another Opossum to get unlucky on some other day then next Sunday!
We know though, it wouldn’t be the same, celebrating that event more than once a week, but we can always dream, can’t we?………………….