Remembering Dad on his Birthday – Toad in the Hole
It’s November 6th and my dad would have been 82 years old today. In memory of my dad, Douglas Gatheridge, (people called him Doug), I am sharing an essay I wrote about him titled Toad in the Hole.
The essay highlights a happy memory from my childhood of me and Dad in the kitchen. Of Dad teaching me to make the wonder of egg and bread that he called “Toad in the Hole.” I wrote the essay in early 2019. I let it sit for awhile, then sent it to a couple of publications in early 2021. The lovely magazine, Under the Gum Tree, told me they wanted my essay as a “Fork and Spoon” feature in their Summer 2022 issue. They did such a lovely job with my essay and I’m so proud to be included in this magazine among so many amazing writers and artists. Please do check out Under the Gum Tree at their website. If you feel so moved, purchase a print or digital copy of the magazine – maybe even the Summer 2022 issue my story is in.
My Dad had dementia, likely Lewy Body Dementia, and it was beyond difficult to see him slow down and fade away in the last years of his life. The most difficult times were in the last months of his life, from about April until he passed away in early July of 2016.
I have written about my Dad a fair amount over the years.
When he was still alive, I wrote some “car stories” that included him. Dad wasn’t a huge “motor head”, but he was handy with vehicles. Working on cars together, and working with Dad in his shop, were a good way for us to connect in my teen years when I’m sure I wasn’t so easy to be around. I even had a “car story” essay published in 2006, Brake Stands, but I honestly don’t know if Dad ever read it. I hope he did. I think he did. I know I asked him some questions as I was writing the essay back in 2002. But I don’t remember us ever talking about it once it was published. Honestly, that makes me a little sad right now.
I’ve written about some of the tough times when Dad was sick but I’ve also written about many happy memories like my memory of cooking with Dad and learning how to make Toad in the Hole. I penned a couple of blog posts about him when he was still alive (Talking to Dad and Quote Your Dad). These are a reminder of how Dad was doing just less than a year before his death and then just three months before. I’m glad I took the time to write them.
Have you ever had “Toad in the Hole” – often known as “Egg in a hole”?
Here’s a recipe for Egg in a hole from if you’d like to try it. This, and most of the recipes I found, call for an over-easy or a runny egg yolk. I know my Dad did not make Toad in a Hole this way because I do not like soft eggs. Well, he might have made himself a soft egg in a hole but I know he would have made mine cooked all the way through, just the way I like it.