The smell of frying sausage fills the small red and orange kitchen, as the hot grease pops. I step back as to not get burned by the hot grease splatter. Yet, to my surprise, a stray swiftly makes its way to my vulnerable skin. In a second, just one small second, pain shoots through my arm, engulfing it in fire.
Just as fast as it came, it left. A small price to pay to see my parent’s smiling faces. My mom has gone through worse.
My mother sits in front of me and says,“The smell of soiled mud and sweaty pigs filled my nostrils. But it had to be done. I couldn’t leave my poor widowed mother with the pay of one job. That is not nearly enough for nine kids and herself. With my dad gone, my older sibling and I had to start chipping in to help. I was nine years old when I started working on the farm to help earn the money to help pay the bills.”
I had to puff out my chest. If my mom could handle bloody fingers and bruises from working hard at such a young age, I could handle a tiny grease burn. Today is Sunday, the only day my dad gets off from work. My mom and dad are sleeping in: my father due to exhaustion, my mother due to allergies and sickness. She could not get up to make my family breakfast, so I decided to step in. I am going to cook them a feast. For a thirteen year old, this is a lot; to feed 5 people I would have to work hard and fast.
The sausages turn an appetizing brown - a long way off the unattractive grey color it started off as. I remove them from the pan and place them on a napkin covered okate. the napkin soaks up all the grease left from the sausages. As I place the bacon on the pan, I stop and wonder how my mom makes them. At the age of seven my mother lost her father after he fell off a horse, leaving the wife and nine children to fend for themselves. I wouldn’t have been able to make it.
Snapping out of my thoughts I tend to the bacon. Once that is finished, I call my trusty assistant: my eight year old brother. I whisper to him so as to not wake my parents, whose snores can be heard through the thin walls. I tell him to get me two eggs and a gallon of milk.
When I hear my dad get out of bed, quick as a fox my brother runs into the room and lays him back down. I don’t hear what is said to convince him to go back to sleep, but it seems to work. I grab a white egg and tap it against the counter until it begins to crack. Quickly, not letting the opaque liquid whites escape and make a mess, I raise the egg over the bowl and separate the halves. I repeat the process with the other egg, watching it splash into the bowl, as my brother returns giving me a thumbs-up. I smile and continue.
I unscrew the milk and pour some into the bowl, not too much, to make the batter liquidy, but not too little to make it stiff and thick. I begin to open the pancake flour when I am stopped by a little voice.
“Can I please pour the pancake stuff?” my little brother asks.
Normally, I would reject him and tell him to leave, but today is different. Moving to the side, I motion for him to come. As he pours in the flour I think of how I love him, like my mom loves her three brothers. One of which almost killed her at a young age.
“We were making tortillas alone in a room. I don’t remember what I said, but oh, did it get him angry. He grabbed the first thing he saw, which happened to be a really large stick, and was about to hit me on the side of the head. That hit would surely have ended my eight year old life. My older brother walked in and stopped him. It might have been terrifying then, but we laugh about it now.” my mother remembered one day in the car.
Coming back to the work at hand, finishing the pancakes. I motion for my brother to get my mom and dad as I set and place their plates. Three pancakes, a side of bacon, sausage, sunny-side-up eggs, and refried beans. On the table, between where they will sit, I place a plate of warm tortillas. Lastly, I pour them both strawberry smoothies, and step back to admire my work. The pancakes are almost over-cooked, but everything looks good.
“What’s this?” I hear a warm, woman’s voice say.
Turning around, I smile at my mother and lead her to her seat. Giving her a kiss on the cheek, I take my place as the others join all around us, smiling and eating.