Updated: Jan 4, 2022
Hey, you! 😊
Today's my late father's birthday. If he were still alive, we would have celebrated his 88th birthday. Sadly, he is not with us as he left us 8 years ago. That's a lot of 8's. Coincidence? Maybe not.
One might think that this period of the year might be difficult for me with my birthday 5 days ago, then my father's birthday, and obviously Christmas and New Year's, but it isn't. I guess I struggle most with his death anniversary in November, then come December that sadness sorta goes away naturally.
One tradition that we have for my dad's birthday is eating Couscous. Why Couscous you might ask? Well let me tell you.
But before I get into the Couscous story, I want to tell you about my dad. Papa, who later in life was called Papi, had 4 lives. In his lifetime, he almost died three times. I used to think that that was so cool, but now I can't help but think if it really was.
First time Papi almost died was in a car accident. In his younger years, he survived a car accident on the highway. He was the only one. His four other friends died on the spot, while he was ejected from the car and brought to a hospital.
The second time was when he was in the army. I'm not sure which country this happened in. I'm thinking South Africa or in the Middle East, but I can't be sure about it. Anyways, he used to go with his army friends at the same bar every evening at 6pm to decompress from the day's stress. One day, he arrived late because he had to finish something first at the army base. Turns out, someone planted a bomb at that bar and it exploded at 6pm. By the time Papi made it to the bar, everything was destroyed and dead bodies were everywhere.
The third and final time was during the Algerian war. My dad was in a military plane which was shot down. It crashed somewhere in the mountains of Algeria. The other 2 people in the plane died during the crash, my dad didn't. He ended up staying with the locals in the mountains, healing his wounds, and eating Couscous almost everyday. This is where he learned how to cook his amazing Couscous!
So now, you probably think this is why we eat Couscous, right? Not! The story has not even begun. Hahaha
When I first started dating the Husband, I really wanted to take things slow because I wasn't ready for a serious relationship. I was a mess back then, he was so good to me, and I didn't want to bring him down with me.
Anyways, one day Papa asked if I could invite the Husband home for a "casual" meal. I was a bit skeptic at first, but I did and the offer was accepted. Early on in our relationship, I noticed that the Husband had a hard time saying "no" to older people and it kinda annoyed me. Hahaha.
Papa didn't just cook a regular Couscous for the occasion, he went full-on with a Couscous more-than Royale. Any meat you could think of was there. Lamb chops, beef meatball, chicken, beef, and even roasted lamb! We were only 3, but I'm not joking when I say there was probably enough to feed an army of 20!
The meal started great. The Husband answered the questions asked and the answers passed in Papa's book. I received a couple of winks and a very obvious thumbs up during the meal. Then this is the part where it all went wrong.
Of course, Papi served us food. But when he was done serving us a little of everything he had cooked, we were handed a mountain-full plate of food. One plate was more than enough. I mean, I had one and I couldn't breathe afterwards. Little did I know that Papi was testing the Husband. He would insist on refilling the Husband's plate and because the Husband couldn't say no, he just kept saying "ok".
I'm not exactly sure how many mountain plates of food he had, but at one point he was turning green. Hahaha. Just like the emoji. 🤢🤢
Obviously, I was upset. I wanted the Husband to stand up for himself and say no to my dad. But I was most upset with my dad and his games. And when I spoke up about it to Papi (in French) and asked him to stop he answered - "Elodie, let me handle this. Some fathers have rifles, I have my couscous. This is how you know if a boy is serious and so far he's doing good. "
The next minutes felt like a tornado in our dining room. The husband stood up to go to the bathroom, he threw up and needed to lie down, my dad was very proud and happy with the results of his latest social experiment, and I was so embarrassed and infuriated and upset and also terrified!!
"He could have been the one. He's never gonna call me again after what he just went through. He's gone." I cried in my best friend's arm that same evening, as she tried to console me.
A week went by without any word from the Husband and obviously I wasn't talking to Papi at this point.
So imagine my surprise when the Husband called exactly a week after "disaster day" and casually said "Hey. Wanna hang out someday? By the way that was my first time to eat Couscous and it was really good. Well, before I got ill anyways. But it was really delicious. I loved it!"
Years later, I found out he only called me a week later because he took him that long to feel better.
From that day on, the Husband was extremely loved by my dad. Whatever he wanted or needed, my dad was there for him. It's been almost 20 years since that day and every year we have Couscous on his birthday. I never thought that the Husband would want to eat Couscous in his life again, but each year he asks for it in memory of my late dad. 😊
I have to admit that I just shed a tear or two while typing this. Obviously I didn't think of it that way when I was living the event, but with time I realized how filled with love this anecdote is. Love, my dad's way. So now it's only smiles.
Soooo ... How did the meeting of the parent go for you?