Brunch was the easiest meal of the week to prepare. The rush of serving 400 meals was spread out over three hours. Max was a new face, and his skills were good (he could talk and flip eggs at the same time).
Following breakfast we turned to the chore of cutting New York steaks for the afternoon BBQ. Knife sharpening was not one of Max’s skills. His erratic scraping back and forth on the stone was my first hint. The second clue was his fancy “steel work.” No blade needed that much steel. Finally his style of cutting the meat was clumsy. He was “on top” of the knife pressing down and sawing back and forth . . . I let him continue this “dog and pony show,” but it was hard to watch.
After the steaks were cut, I started refilling the burners and preparing to bake the potatoes. Max was nursing a large blister at the base of his right forefinger. It was the spot where the heel of the knife rested while cutting. I felt my forefinger with my thumb and was surprised at the thick callus that I had developed there over time.
During the afternoon BBQ, Doc Furman looked at Max’s blister and told him not to pop it. “Submerge it in ice water” was his temporary solution . . . there was no ice, we gave it all to the club to cool the beer.
The chaos of Marines cooking their own steaks was annoying to Max. He was used to a more orderly meal routine. This was our Sunday ritual and gave these young Marines some time to blow off steam. Somehow the disorder preserved our sanity. Max would not have allowed this to happen if it were his mess hall.