The deal was that my mother would buy the groceries and prepare dinner in exchange for free rent. Since she was never home during dinner time she would take 15 minutes in the morning to have the meat ready for cooking.
Uncle Bill would get home around 5 PM from his truck driving job, head straight to the shower and then to the kitchen. Every week was a rotation of mostly breaded pork chops, spaghetti and meat sauce, and hamburger steak. There’s probably a reason why I adore breaded meats to this day. My mother has refused to make breaded pork chops ever since. I remember the angst on her face when she was swinging the meat tenderizing hammer.
His dinner table was his lap while he sat on his torn up leather recliner. Mine was one of those school desks where the chair was connected to the table. Then again, maybe it was a telephone table because the chair faced to the side.
Sometimes I couldn’t finish my dinner. He made me sit there until I finished it. I just sat there until he released me. After school cookies were to be blamed for ‘spoiling my dinner.’
A couple days of the week after dinner he would go for coffee with his other divorced and never married male friends. I’d peek outside through the front window to watch him drive off and then it would be party time. Bring on the cookies.