Dedicated to Sturgeon

by jkatejohnston

17 July 2014

Dear Max,

I’m home and Teresa and Enzo are in Tahoe. It’s strange and lonely and luxurious. I went for a bike ride this morning and then didn’t leave the house all day. Around five, I lay on Enzo’s top bunk and read for a long time. It’s nice up there.

Poor Duncan keeps eating and barfing, aiming for the rugs, it seems.

I made a great batch of baba ganoush, roasting the eggplant over the gas flame with the burner removed and the eggplant cradled in a roasting rack: burnt black on the outside and syrupy-soft on the inside.

And I roasted beets in the slow cooker last night and today I sliced some up and ate them with blue cheese and walnuts and olive oil and pepper and salt and pomegranate vinegar.

And tonight when I’m watching a boring documentary that Teresa would never go for, I’m going to pop some popcorn from the farmer’s market and pour on some browned butter, all tossed with a sprig of basil and then you take the basil out of course.

Eating is one of the things I happen to be good at.

Enzo notes:

Reading a book about hero dogs and what breeds are good for search and rescue and for protecting people generally. “I can think of one. Golden Retriever. Who could get past those golden silks of hairs?”


Picking up toys before reading books. I am doing most of the work. I ask him to hand the toys down to me from the top bunk. He climbs up and starts wrapping them up in a round piece of plastic that must have been some type of packaging. “I’ll get them parachuted down in a giant taco,” and he throws the bundle over the railing.


“I read in the newspaper today that your pimple is the largest in state history.”


Teresa found a picture of North American sturgeon varieties online, and I printed it for Enzo. Of course we read the different kinds to him a few times: Alabama, Green, Lake, Shortnose, White, Atlantic, Gulf, Pallid and Shovelnose. That evening he carried it around and kept looked at it: “I am now basing my life on this picture.”

Later that evening: “I want to do something to make my home a fishing nebula. My room is going to be dedicated to the sturgeon.”

Later, looking at the picture: “My favorite letters are A,G,L,S,W,A,G,P,S. Those are all the first letters of sturgeon.”


Enzo claimed that he now likes tuna. Good! I opened a can and drizzled on some olive oil while he sat at the table chanting: “AL-BA-CORE! AL-BA-CORE! AL-BA-CORE!” Then he ate a little.


He stabbed himself in the roof of his mouth with a stick of hard candy. The next day, describing his injury: “It feels like I have a dent a and a lump together. It feels like I have a hillside.”


“Where’s Teresa?”

“In the egg.” (Her studio, in the backyard.)

“I have an idea that should work.”

“What is it?”

“Teresa never thought big.”

Then we got our attention turned, so now I don’t know what the big idea was that Teresa wouldn’t approve of. The fact that it didn’t need to be concealed from me should give you some idea of my authority around here.


“I can’t believe I made my first sneer.”

“Who did you sneer at?”

“A girl in Fourth R. And that’s not called making fun of her.”

“It’s not?”

“Sneering is just so darn fun!”

“What is sneering?”

He demonstrates, making a funny sort of cross-eyed face.