Thurston Crowell, "Thirsty" to his friends, told me it's his birthday today. I congratulated him when he told me he turned 53 this morning. "Doing anything special?" I asked.
"My Momma's making me my favorite dinner," he said, "Pork chops just the way I like them: with extra fat."
Farrah Mint asked, "How does your mother cook them? Mine spears the chops with rosemary sprigs and rubs them with thyme after soaking them in balsamic vinegar for the afternoon."
Thirsty wrinkled his already wrinkled face. "Nah," he said, "I don't go for any of that. I'm from Boston. The only spices I like are salt and pepper, black pepper. Momma sprinkles some of that on the chops and plops them under the broiler until the edges turn black. That's how I like them."
Peanut Jones said, "I like the pork chops at Durgin Park."
Beverly chimed in, "I like the pork chops at Locke-Ober."
Thirsty disagreed: "No. I like Momma's pork chops. I have for 53 years now. No fancy-pants chef can best them. She buys them around the corner and Paul the butcher knows how I like them. He sees Momma come in and he brings out the extra fatty chops that he keeps under the counter for special customers."
"I've never tasted Mrs. Crowell's chops," I said, "but they must be delicious. Thirsty, you make them sound like the best pork chops in Boston. Happy birthday! Enjoy your dinner!"
We all wished Thirsty another 53 big nights full of pork chop dinners.