Everything is quiet on a late Sunday afternoon. We’ve been to church and ran a few errands or had a ball game. Everyone is tired and cranky. My dad wanders into the kitchen and starts digging around. At first no one pays attention. He measures out the flour and other ingredients, still no one cares. The electric crepe pan is plugged in and the whole house stands at attention.
Mom sets the table, then loads it with jams, jellies, butter and powder sugar. The kids wander into the kitchen to check on the height of the stack. Not tall enough to start yet. Dad always had to get a head start before we began to eat or we would spend half of dinner waiting on crepes. The last inch of crepes seems to take hours as we wait.
Finally we sit at the table and the first batch of crepes is set in front of us. I place one on my plate spreading a thin layer of strawberry jam over it before rolling it up. The second received butter and powdered sugar. The first bite was pure magic that only dad could deliver. I watch him as I eat dipping the crepe pan, waiting till the crepe is perfectly cooked then gently easing it off, before repeating it again. Its a tedious task but he’s happy because we are happy.
Crepes were always a rare treat in our house. They took my dad a long time to prepare and they aren’t the best thing to eat for dinner. They always brought the family together though, waiting, eating, cleaning up. It sounds like any other meal but it wasn’t. It was forced togetherness while everyone was in a good mood. All of us were excited about the dinner to come. We had good conversations, joking and laughing at those dinners.
Crepes were dad’s specialty. No one else learned how to make them and now that he passed those days are gone. Crepe dinners are one of my favorite memories of him and my childhood. I can still see him standing in the corner of the L shaped counter in our kitchen gently prying a crepe off the pan. Its one of those memories that refuse to fade even after 20 years and I hope it never does.