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Cooking for Lee


There ought to be a medal for getting Lee to eat properly. Bad enough when we go out to dinner, and I’m the one digging into what’s left on his plate (a lot) after mine is finished or having to order a ‘doggie bag’. 


Goodness knows, I’ve tried to get him to eat more than a few fork or spoonful’s at any meal. I’ve even tried my special Linguini to whet his appetite, but he only had an appetite for the bedroom, so who was I to complain?


But then one day Admiral Nelson called me into his office and asked me if I might try to ‘fatten’ Lee up a bit, to satisfy the Doctor, he stressed. He assured me that he didn’t want to interfere in Lee’s private life, but Doc insisted he was below weight for his height and bone structure and was worried.  Most submarine crews, even Seaview’s, gain a few pounds on a patrol he told me. Lee, well, tended to  loose a few. Hadn’t I noticed?


Of course I’d noticed and didn’t like where this conversation was headed.


“It’s a Captain thing, sir?” I replied, telling him that that Lee tends to eat like a bird even on leave (well, he is a Crane, I joked) but he always insists that he’s fine.


Nelson groaned and ran a hand through his hair.


“But I’ve even made him Lasagna, Shrimp Alfredo, and such straight off some cooking shows on TV, even comfort foods  like Chicken Pot Pie and old fashioned beef stew,” I told him, “but except for chocolate chip cookies and brownies, Lee really isn’t very interested in food or maybe it’s just the eating it, I don’t know which! Sometimes, though, he will swill down an entire quart of orange juice, usually right after he gets back from one of ‘those’ cruises, you know, the ones he can’t talk about,  and stuffs himself with all the salad he can eat.”


“A sugar high from O.J., cookies, and brownies are  not considered a balanced diet, though the salad is good. God knows we don’t get much of the green stuff aboard…. Miss Hale. I’m trusting that you…”he hesitated, suddenly flushing in embarrassment, “well, er…that with your… special relationship  you  can…  encourage him…yes, that’sit, encourage him  to  avail himself of three squares a day while he’s on leave or at least one. Get some good heavy carbs and proteins into him along with some fruit and vegetables. A Big Mac with French fries, or maybe Bratwurst and sauerkraut sounds nice… mac and cheese…that’ll put the pounds on or…”


“What can I do?” I interrupted, increasingly mift, after all , I’d done all could, “hogtie him to a chair and force feed him?” I knew it was a mistake as soon as I’d said it for I began to envision myself aiming a spoonful of healthy oatmeal into his mouth, like a mother to her baby in a high chair, and making ‘choo choo’ noises  while Lee would squirm, maybe bound  and naked on a kitchen chair ( well, it was my fantasy and he was my baby in a twisted sort of way).


“Miss Hale?” Nelson asked bringing me out of my daydream. I must have been slobbering for he handed me a tissue.


“I’ll do my best, sir.”


“Good girl!” he said happily, “you have a week. We have to shove off then.  I expect him to have gained at least fifteen pounds. That should make Doc happy,” he added to himself.

Fifteen pounds?” I asked, incredulous. “In a week?? How on earth do you expect me to do that? Even those fancy flavored protein shakes they use for some hospital patients don’t work that fast! And what if he simply won’t eat, even for me?”

“Well, there might be other ways you can get him to eat…” he almost smirked, “bribery for one.”

“Bribery? What can I bribe him with?”  

“Use your imagination, my dear….”

Suddenly knew what he meant. My face was probably as red as the mini sub. He couldn’t mean what I thought he meant, could he? Oh yes, I could tell. He meant what I thought he meant.

“You’re evil, sir,” I said.

“If it works, it works. Keep a diary of the food he consumes for Doc to see when Lee reports. Good luck Miss Hale. We’re in your debt.”

And so I was summarily dismissed.


And so it began. For the next week, poor Lee found himself having to eat a serving of this and a serving of that for whatever and whenever he wanted…special favors.


“As long as it doesn’t become a habit, or I'll have to join wieght watchers!” he told me and downed a second ice cream sundae (with bananas, whipped cream and a cherry on top).


The week went by quickly and I presented the log to Nelson the day Lee was scheduled to report for duty. He was already in sickbay getting weighed. I thought it was all over, our plot to fatten Lee up, when Doc entered the office fuming.

“Uh oh,” Nelson and I said in unison.

“He’s lost four more pounds!”

“But look at all he’s eaten!” Nelson showed him my log.

“Impressive…has he been doing any extra running? I know he’s interested in the Santa Barbara Marathon…”

“Er, Miss Hale?” Nelson asked.

“Not to my knowledge. It’s been a very relaxing week for him. Didn’t do much of anything but work on his car,  and spend time with me. I've been on leave too.”

“But he  couldn’t have expended enough energy to negate all those calories or to lessen them!”

Nelson coughed. “That’ll be all Doc…I’m sure Lee will put on a few pounds once he’s back at sea.”

“You almost sound as if you know the reason why he lost the weight.”

“Er no, not at all. Perhaps,” he looked at me, “it’s…Captain thing. We’ll just make sure Cookie includes cookies and brownies for this cruise…should put the weight right back on him.”

“That’s not good nutrition!” Doc complained.

“Close enough for government work. That’s all, Miss Hale. You have just enough time to say goodbye to Lee before we leave.”


I could still hear the two arguing as I ran all the way down to the elevators.


In minutes I’d run up the gangplank (without permission) to the deck, and we smooched our goodbyes . Cookie coughed, interrupting, and wanted Lee to sign his clipboard, and told his Captain that he had some new  recipes he was going to make that were so good the crew wouldn’t be able to look at food the same way again and happily disappeared back down into the depths of the sub.


“I’ll never look at it the same way again, either,” Lee winked at me.


Nelson and Doc were coming aboard and Doc looked at me, shaking his head, glowering as he passed. Nelson just grinned. “Prepare to get underway, Captain.”

“What was that all about?” Lee asked Nelson and I.

“Oh, must be some paperwork that Miss Hale forgot…that’s it…paperwork, right Miss Hale?”

So Doc did know now what Nelson and I had concocted.

“You okay?” Lee asked as my face reddened.

“It’s okay Miss Hale…probably got misfiled. Not your fault…well, goodbye..”Nelson winked at me (without Lee seeing it) and disappeared below decks.

“I’d better go…”I said.

“Yeah….” Lee said sadly. “Damn, I miss you already…”

“Me too,” I kissed him goodbye and joined the group of family and friends that gathered on the dock to wave goodbye as Seaview left.


“Well,” Angie asked me later as I turned in a report, “did you finally get Lee to eat anything?”

“Oh, uh… a little,” I blushed. If she only knew…


What was it that Cookie had said? He had some dishes that would make the crew never look at food the same way again? I almost laughed out loud. All I know is that I’ll never look at Asparagus and Bratwurst the same again either.