Greg told me that he would cook whatever I wanted for a birthday dinner. I thought about a menu for a while, and then it hit me. I left him a note on a yellow legal pad with my specific instructions:
Garlic bread made with sourdough bread
Salad (the kind from a bag, with little pieces of carrot and the purple stuff) with Ranch dressing
Greg's first reaction was confusion, as this is not the kind of meal I usually eat. However, when I called my mom and my sister and told them about it, they immediately recognized what was going on: I was ordering a Grandpa Yadon dinner. Growing up, this was the meal we ate at Grandpa's house, although often the steak would be subbed out for lasagna or enchiladas, especially for the kids. The garlic bread and salad were nonnegotiable.
Whenever the Yadon family gets together these days, someone does the Grandpa Yadon joke. It goes something like this: "Hey Nicole, do you want some orange juice? Soda? Milk? Cookie? Can I make you a grilled cheese sandwich? Are you hungry? How about a steak?" Because no matter who you were--grandkid, neighbor, even the mailman, Grandpa would try to feed you and take care of you. He lived across the street from an elementary school, and he would take the kindergarten teachers Cokes during their breaks.
I've heard people talk about the generation that grew up in the Depression, that they never got over hoarding and could have been described as stingy later in life. For whatever reason, the opposite was true of Grandpa Yadon. So, belatedly, thanks for all the OJ, soda, milk, cookies, grilled cheese sandwiches, and steaks, and for giving all of us a model of generosity.
My birthday meal totally failed, by the way. It wasn't Greg's fault, because he specifically asked me how long he should marinate the steaks and I told him to go ahead and do it for 24 hours. When your marinade of choice is somethign called Duggan's Dew, that is not good advice.