I'll tell you one last little story.
So Paul applies for a Home Ec (Home Economics) class, because it's supposed to be covering advanced cooking techniques. The teacher was skeptical, having a boy sign up, and invited him in for a test of his basic cooking skills. I think that teacher gave everyone the same test, so he had some advance knowledge. But anyway. So, he shows up with a little lunch box and sets it down by the counter and awaits his assignment.
"Okay Paul, I want you to make pancakes for two people. You have... let's see... about 30 minutes, then let's eat!"
Well, you can guess how that went: potatoes in the shredder, sauté pan... high speed boyfriend. The teacher watched for a few minutes, was apparently satisfied, and got busy ordering some supplies.
Paul announced that breakfast was served. The teacher approached the table and just sort of... ground to a halt.
"Well, what do we have here?"
"Poached eggs on a bed of potato pancakes, garnished with pan-seared sea scallops, Mrs. Everson."
I've had them, by the way. They're very good. Can you believe she fucking rejected him? Didn't let him take her class?
He's even like, "Here, I'll make you a stack of flapjacks real quick," and she still wouldn't let him. He spent the next three semesters as her teaching assistant and resource person. He found and tested the recipes, prepared the ingredient orders and did most of the prep. I got to eat a lot of his experiments and they were almost always excellent.
That was a pretty progressive school district. Started using audio equipment in the language classes before anyone else. Just started using closed circuit TV for a few classes while we were there, and Paul was all involved with that, both behind and in front of the camera. Wanna hazard a guess? He was really good at that, too.
I stood there, holding my coffee and looking out at the snow peaks, as Paul read the registered mail I'd signed for in town.
"Hah! So they're actually gonna do it! Sell it to fucking Nestlé. Fucking pussies."
"Well, you predicted they'd do something like that."
"Not this early, though. But... Oh, well, just as well."
I agreed: "If they tried to take it any further on their own, the diminishing returns would fuck the market value. They're exactly the kind of guys who'd fuck it up and end up taking a bath."
"They don't know the industry. Never did. Don't even realize they need to," he said. "This sort of guy figures that, 'cuz he made big bucks in electronics, he's got magic fingers. Oh, well, no skin off our k-nose. Our collective k-nose," he grinned. "It's not like they can take anything away, at this point, anyway. We got our money out three years ago, thanks to you. Besides, the fucking key reaction has my name on it," he grinned.
Our name, I thought, and smiled.
I looked over and there it gleamed, from where it rested in the curio case. Worn and scarred and over-sharpened. The engraving still visible after all these many years. "Solingen," it declared: Solingen.
"Arrgh," he sighed, "I guess I've got to show up. You wanna drive to Quito with me and see me off?"
"Only if you really want me to. I'd rather stay here and get the place ready for the kids' visit. And I'd like to finish that sauna, finally."
"Should I keep this?" he asked, fingering his face.
"I think it looks good on you. Especially short like that. It's all curly. Like a little lamb."
"All white like this?"
"Doesn't make me look too old?"
"I love you. I have always loved you. I will always love you. I'm telling you it looks good on you. It makes you so... Fuzzy!"