Friday, February 14, 2020

Water! The magical ingredient!

As a child, my grandma used to say, "make out your meal." Mystified, I'd watch as she'd grizzle down on a corn of the cob, puzzling over her cracker barrel Yoda pearls of delirious wisdom, hypnotized by her cheek swimming round and round, masticating the hell outta that bite of corn. Even then, I thought she was some kinda mad genius. Even if I didn't know what she was ever talking about.

But the other night--at two A.M. (the best time for insomniac pondering)--I had a real "Eureka Moment!"

"Aha," I whispered so as not to wake my wife, "the answer was right in front of me all along. My mother was the greatest practitioner of 'making out your meal.'"

For you see, dear reader, my mother truly DID make out our meals. Particularly with that most magical, endless ingredient, water! Yep, water!

Constantly, my brothers and I would catch her sneaking water into condiments such as ketchup, mustard, chocolate syrup, everything. Anything to give that condiment a longer shelf life. It didn't matter that the "ketchup" would trickle off of our over-cooked burger patties, hey, my mom was determined to get her money's worth and then some, taste be hanged.

Soda pop was a true luxury in our household. While my playground pals would brag about how they drank endless sodas at home (particularly from the individual bottles one could actually claim ownership to), pop was an extremely rare treat. But, man, when Mom would bring it home (albeit in the big communal jug, never individual bottles), I knew our weekend was gonna be a good one.

Until she learned the trick of adding water to the bottle.

"Mom, this pop tastes funny."

"Huh. Must be flat," she'd say before waltzing off humming like a crazed bird. (I could go on another rant about how she'd never mastered the art of truly tightening the soda-pop bottle-cap, thereby allowing the soda to go flat, but then I don't wanna dilute my tale. {See what I did there?})

Nowadays, when confronted with these traumatic childhood tales, my mom utilizes the best defense only parents have developed: selective memory. "Bah," she recently said, "I never did that."

Naturally, she says the same thing about feeding my brother and I sugar and butter sandwiches. "Mercy, I never gave you boys that." My brother and I vehemently remember things differently.'s a losing battle, one I'm fated to take out on my daughter in my "molden-golden" years.

Speaking of "molden-golden" years, there's a short story in my collection, Twisted Tales from Tornado Alley, that I'm proud of: Halloweenie Roast. It details an embittered elderly woman going all-out commando on three particularly nasty brats. See whose side you end up rooting for! Read in shock as the Halloween night from Hell escalates into a full-on battlefield! Gasp about my brazen plugs! Watch as Oprah plugs my book (nah...never mind that last one)!

1 comment:

  1. Sugar butties? used to be a staple part of a Scouser's childhood round my way (Liverpool, England)- along with 'conny-onny' butties (sandwiches made with Carnation condensed milk, chip butties (chips being what you call French fries) and, of course, the ever-popular jam butty. Sadly, as my mum wasn't from Liverpool, I missed out on all that. I do remember having bread and beef dripping sandwiches, sprinkled with salt, of course and she made a fabulous Spotted Dick and custard!