The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 15, 2013

Mike Pound: A Sunday with nothing to do can be something special

I knew it was going to be a good day when I remembered the Tabasco sauce.

I like to put Tabasco sauce on my omelets, but sometimes, when I order an omelet in a restaurant, I forget to ask for it until the server brings my plate to me. This, of course, forces the server to make an extra trip back to the kitchen.

But Sunday morning at breakfast, I remember to ask for Tabasco sauce when I placed my order. When I asked the nice waitress for Tabasco, she laughed and said, “OK, but I hope I can remember to bring it.”

Then she looked at a couple sitting next to us who was just finishing their meal. Sitting on their table was a bottle of Tabasco sauce. The nice waitress pointed to the bottle of sauce and said, “Are you through with that?”

When the couple said they were the waitress grabbed the Tabasco sauce and put it in front of me.

“There,” she said with a laugh.

Sunday was one of those rare weekend days when my wife, our 15-year-old daughter, Emma, and I had absolutely nothing planned. We had nowhere to go and nothing to do when we got there.

“Dad,” Emma said to me Saturday afternoon. “What are we doing Sunday?”

I told Emma that I assumed that either she or my wife had something that needed to be done. When Emma said she had nothing planned, we checked with my wife.

“Mom,” Emma said. “What are we doing tomorrow?”

“Nothing,” my wife said.

The three of us just stared at each other for a minute with the word “nothing” sort of floating in the air above us.

Saturday evening, I made a teriyaki marinade and poured it over a generous cut of flank steak and sat it in the refrigerator. Then I whipped up a grilled shrimp and poblano pepper salsa.

“Sunday dinner is done,” I told my wife and Emma after I put the salsa in the refrigerator.

Sunday morning we decided that, rather than cook breakfast and risk messing up the already messy kitchen, we would go out. In addition to my omelet, I also had biscuits and gravy. As far as I’m concerned, any day that begins with an omelet and biscuits and gravy has the potential to be a good day.

When we got home, my wife and Emma ran an errand that they wanted to do rather than one they had to do. On a do-nothing day “wanting to” as opposed to “having to” is a very important distinction.

After they left, I grabbed the newspapers and went out to our backyard and began doing nothing. An hour or so later Emma and my wife came out and joined me.

Emma is 15, which means she is legally insane. Most of the time the thought of spending an entire day doing nothing with her parents would drive Emma even crazier than she already is, but Sunday was different.

On Sunday, Emma actually talked to us. Of course, she talked to us about all of the places she wants us to take her and the sort of car she wants us to buy her. She also talked about something she called “Chacos.”

I asked Emma what Chacos were and she said they were some sort of sandal.

“Are they expensive?” I asked.

“Yes,” my wife said.

“Oh,” I said.

Then I changed the subject.

Later in the day, my wife climbed into one of our hammock swings and started reading a book. Emma climbed in another hammock swing and did something with her phone, and I sat in the swing on our back porch and listened to Jimmy Buffett’s radio station.

Sometime around 3:30 p.m., I brought out the shrimp and poblano pepper salsa and some chips. We all agreed that I should make the salsa again this summer.

Later, I threw the flank steak on the grill and my wife brought out a cucumber and onion salad and some corn on the cob. We had dinner outside.

It was a good day. But I knew it would be. I remembered the Tabasco sauce.

Do you have an idea for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at mpound@joplinglobe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.

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