I don't get on Twitter too often. My only tweets are mentions of house concerts, and even those are random and sparse. I did hop on over there yesterday to check in on what was going on DC with tanks and the like. My favorite tweet I came across had nothing to do with that, however. It was Rosanne Cash, tweeting

I made a huge mistake. I used fancy mayonnaise instead of Hellman's in my decades-old Southern potato salad recipe, and it's like the potatoes don't even recognize the dish. It's like the Hillbilly Elegy of potato salads. I must take to my bed now.

Speaking of potato salad, I made a humongous batch of it, the same standard, old fashioned way my mother made it. It had an uncanny mix of both overcooked and undercooked potatoes, but that was really just my own special touch (I seem incapable of getting them right). Good old russets, Hellman's, a little onion, a lot of hard-boiled eggs. I added some garlic chives and dill. When I was little it always felt like a special honor if my mom gave us a pair of scissors and asked us to go get some chives from the backyard. That little patch of chives came back year after year. It was the only herb we ever had in our yard, and I don't think I really remember my mother using it other than potato salad. I've tried lots of different potato salads…fancying them up with vinaigrettes, different kinds of potatoes, this or that, but when it comes right down to it, what I like, and what Ernie ADORES is plain, old-fashioned, simple potato salad.

I remember driving with Ernie once years ago in the middle of nowhere and listening to some local AM radio station. People were calling in with recipes. A woman called with her potato salad recipe, and she recited it step by step, with the host repeating it, seemingly writing it down as he went. "Ok, so you boil the potatoes and then you peel them…." We listened in fascination as they spent what felt like an hour going through step by step of what was certainly the same potato salad recipe that most of the nation makes. You boil, the potatoes, you cut them up, you add mayo, a little chopped onion, and some salt and pepper. We laughed and laughed and laughed. It still makes us laugh. 

We love you potato salad.

And for no good reason, except that I just came across this, and have it on my refrigerator, to Leo's resigned disgust. Leo's love of the Big Boy was already there at 7 years old.


That sentence, "I never wanted to leave," just kills me. I also like the arrows, differentiating the tender from the actual Big Boy. He used to draw pictures of trains like that over and over. Every card he made for us or his grandparents, or aunts….trains just like that.

And Leo, 12 years later, in front of the Big Boy, in Wyoming.