Peanut butter and hot sauce

Now, as we have turned the page from a hot, dry summer to a soggy and cool fall, fathers across the area are finding time to be with their sons. These bonding experiences, though varied, are annual rites of passage and usually take place in the great out-of-doors.
I, red-blooded American dad, am no different than millions of other American dads — there is just something about getting outside on a cool autumn day with your sons that warms all those cockles of my heart. Maybe there’s some primeval genetic code that turns on with the shortening of the day, or the color of the leaf. Who knows (who cares), it’s there all the same.
Some fathers and sons huddle under blankets in the rain, sleet and snow on cold, wet metal bleachers to watch their favorite college gridiron heroes. Hot cider and hot dogs amidst the grunts and groans of football with your boys spells ‘special moments.?
Other dads take their sons out into the wilderness so all can get back in touch with nature. No cell phones, Gameboys or I-Pods, just father and son hunkered over a hot, steamy pile of Bambi guts discussing man’s relationship in nature. For the record, I don’t believe too many dads these days share a drink of blood from junior’s first kill (at least I hope not).
This past weekend was the first of the fall season, and at Casa d’Rush, the boys shared a similar bonding experience. Outside, in nature, we gathered around piles of red, green and orange. I’ll say this: my knife was sharp, my hand deft as we explored our purpose in the universe’s cosmic goo called life. I cut, sliced, cleaned and explained all in detail as the boys watched, sometimes interrupting me with questions.
Together with the boys — just us guys, we three, Dad, Shamus and Sean, doing the man-boy bonding thing of ‘providing? for our family. We provided lots of valuable stuff. We made quarts and quarts of pepper sauce. (Dear Jen just loves the stuff . . . well, maybe not). We sliced and diced red chilies, green jalapenos and orange habanero peppers with precision accuracy.
On a table with electric skillet, blender, knife, water, white vinegar, salt, onion and garlic powders, together we created concoctions similar to the famous Tabasco Sauce. It was a beautiful moment in time. My eyes even welled up with tears when the steam from the habarneros blew into my face.
The boys learned important life lessons, too. They learned where to be — upwind or downwind — of any noxious smell. (‘Look, Shamus, Dad’s bawling like a little girl.?)
They came to understand the power of pepper and to always protect themselves. I tried to impart upon them the importance of wearing gloves when cutting peppers, and in the event you forget to wear gloves when cutting peppers, never-ever, under any circumstance, go to the bathroom without thoroughly washing your hands first. I speak from experience — I only wish my dad had passed on this bit of wisdom his son while he was still alive. He didn’t and, well,
that is one stinging sensation I will never forget. (As I type this, 24 hours after cutting peppers, my fingers still sting a little).
I know the boys enjoy our time together because they want to help. They come with folding chairs in hand and safety glasses over their noses. They are even getting a taste for hot sauce. I am not gonna state in public that they’ll put it on their peanut butter sandwiches, but, five-year-old Sean is fond of saying, ‘I’ll put a few drops of hot sauce on my ? (whatever’s for dinner).?
I think their interest may stem from the fact that last year I brewed and bottled Red Hot Shamus Sauce from red chilies and Green With Envy Sean Sauce from the jalapeno peppers. The labels included the lads? pictures. Those were given out as Christmas presents last year.
Oh, and another lesson the boys learned from dear ol? Dad is how to be cheap and still be an impressive gift-giver.
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