All About the Potato Salad

I recently got a checkup for my retinal tear surgery about 4 months ago. My surgeon was pleased with the outcome. Partly based on my good outcome, he shared that he was guiding his trainees on the wisdom of not necessarily always going with the new surgical procedures for the disorder, which happens not infrequently in those over the age of 50.

In fact, the trend seems to be to do more than just the oldest operation, which is the scleral buckle, in favor of adding vitrectomy as well—a relatively newer approach. I got the scleral buckle.

Progress is good. But just because something is old doesn’t mean it’s outmoded.

We saw the Iowa State Fair episode on old farm machinery the other night. It showed how much progress has been made in farming over many years. However, those old machines replaced a lot of hard labor, so they were definite improvements back in the day.

You can learn something new and valuable by considering what is old. We saw a short film called The Foursome. On the surface, it’s about 4 old guys who have played golf together at an annual tournament for 50 years in Waukon, Iowa. Waukon is in the Northwest part of the state, close to the Mississippi River, which borders the eastern side of the state.

The show is not really about golf, of course. But before it came on, I almost decided not to watch it because of that misconception. The description gives it away, saying that it’s about friendship, small towns, golf—and potato salad.

I think it’s also about getting older. Not everybody ages gracefully and I’m including myself as a pretty good example. I’m not so sure about my memory or my hearing these days. I can stand on one leg for 20 seconds. But one day not too long ago I cracked an egg and instead of emptying the contents into the poaching pan, I dumped them on a paper towel on the countertop. I was mortified.

Sena covered for me and brushed it off, saying it was because we had been talking about the finer points of poaching eggs and I just got distracted, and some hogwash about how she’s done that too. Maybe.

In the film, one of the Foursome was showing some of the artwork he has on the walls at his home. He stopped at one and seemed to fall into some kind of reverie. The camera operator had to sort of whisper to the guy that he needed to move on.

Let’s change the subject and talk about potato salad. They filmed the wife of one of the guys making this potato salad, the recipe for which you can get for free on the web. She used Miracle Whip instead of Mayonnaise. I pointed this out to Sena, who said nothing. Miracle Whip has been around since the 1930s and I grew up eating it on sandwiches at home. I favored it over Mayonnaise.

There has not been a jar of Miracle Whip in our house in almost 45 years—which is how long we’ve been married. I have learned to like Mayonnaise.

This reminds me of one segment on the film showing the wife of one of the other guys shopping for food (including burgers, chips, and whatnot as well as potato salad fixings) for the cookout, a part of the annual golf outing for the four guys. She said it really didn’t matter what she got because “They’ll eat anything you put in front of them.”

Some of them will eat nothing but the potato salad.

There is something poignant about the irascibility alternating with poignancy in the film. Their friendship is deep enough to move one of the four guys to tears. At least that’s what it looked like.

They have the usual flaws men have, including the tendency to be stoic in the face of oncoming frailty and the specter of death.

I don’t know if I’ll age as well as they do. But I do know I will never take up the game of golf. And I wonder if you can substitute Mayonnaise for Miracle Whip in that potato salad.

One thing I’m sure of, Sena is my best friend.

Author: James Amos

I'm a retired consult-liaison psychiatrist. I navigated the path in a phased retirement program through the hospital where I was employed. I was fully retired as of June 30, 2020. This blog chronicles my journey.

3 thoughts on “All About the Potato Salad”

  1. Also a Miracle Whip fan. Recently saw an episode of The Food That Built America. Found out that Miracle Whip was designed to use fewer eggs than mayo due to war rationing and as a result they had to build an faster emulsifier. The name of that machine was the Miracle Whip.

    Liked by 1 person

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