By Jim Kuiken
You’ve probably seen, have, or know a child (or maybe were that child) who got caught with their hand in the cookie jar. I’m not talking about adult behavior, I’m talking about a tender-age child caught pilfering a fresh cookie, or maybe the ultimate transgression…grabbing a handful out of a perfectly good chocolate cake.
Of course, as an “adult”…you confront them (hopefully with some humor and well-hidden amusement), and ask them “Do you know who got into the cake?”
The denial, with cake all over their face, is the best part. I know you’ve seen the videos or TV commercials – or better yet, the culprit in real life, face to chocolaty face.
I, of course, never did that. No…actually! I never did! Would I fib to you?
Frankly, it’s the truth. I know you (and those who know me) don’t believe that, but to my best recollection…
I just wasn’t all that interested in sweets when I was growing up. Don’t get me wrong, if there was nothing else available, I’d chow them down like I was starving – but they weren’t my first choice.
I know, lots of you who read my “Frontline Tales – My Deepest Craving” post from last year would think that it was Oreos…but believe it or not, I didn’t crave those as a kid. That came along during my stint there at the Army’s Special Forces Qualification Course back in my 30’s, probably due to the austere conditions while we were in “isolation” – and the fact we were all hungry most of the time.
When I was a kid, it was generally a protein source. My mom couldn’t keep cheese (especially cheddar) in the house, and I was known for snatching a large 53 oz. can of pork and beans and a spoon, and polishing off that whole can in one sitting. Between meals.
Of course I also drank all the lemon juice (she used to buy those bottles)…and occasionally, I’d pound down a few cokes if left unguarded. I never did figure out why I drank the lemon juice.
I guess it ran in the family though, because my brother was riding in my grandmother’s shopping cart when he was a little kid, and when she got to the checkout and started putting her groceries on the counter, some of the ladies there started laughing. She turned around, and saw that he had a round of gouda cheese (the ones that used to come in the red wax covering), and, with the two teeth he had in his head, had started gnawing through the wax into the cheese.
She hadn’t picked up any cheese, so she must have parked the cart a little too close to the cheese display, and not kept a close enough eye on him… She had to buy the cheese with the notch cut in it by two sharp little teeth.
She actually had a habit of underestimating John and me. When I was very little (I don’t remember this, but I’ve heard the story all my life…I think I was around 2), she took me to Penny’s while she was shopping for a dress or something – and was “watching” me for my mom, who was probably at work.
She put me down on the floor for a minute while she looked at a dress, and when she turned around…I was gone. After frantically searching for me for a minute or two, she heard some ladies in the next section laughing, and headed that direction.
And there I was. (Now, this is going to date me, but that’s life…) There was a popcorn machine standing in the corner. One of the old style ones that had popcorn in the upper glass section, a red and white striped “skirt” below the glass, with a slot for coins (you had to put the coin in, then turn the little butterfly handle to rotate the coin down in), and a holder with some paper bags to dispense your popcorn into…so you could munch on the popcorn while you shopped. (and for all you youngsters, that used to be the norm…some form of snack and coffee or “soda pop” in the stores for customers, to keep you happy and shopping longer…)
Somehow I had squeezed into the corner behind the machine, and gotten up and into the little door or hatch on the back where they opened it to re-stock the popcorn when it got low. I was sitting inside the machine, stuffing popcorn into my mouth as fast as I could with both hands.
When the store personnel got there, moved the machine out from the wall, and reached in to pull me out, I was still reaching back in, grabbing the popcorn with both hands as they extracted me…
For some reason, my grandmother took me and left the store. And didn’t go back to that store for a while – and never with me.
I know, I was a weird little kid. Thank goodness I grew out of that ;)
So anyway – it’s fall here in Virginia. Lots of leaves, lots of rain, and in my yard, lots of mud and soft soil.
I let Freedom out back for a while (there’s no fence in the front, but he doesn’t go past the corners of the house, because I taught him not to). As a Service Dog, he’s highly trained, and highly trainable. A VERY well behaved, good and loving dog (see what he did with Kyle Carpenter from last week’s post).
He likes to sit out there and watch (and if the opportunity presents itself – chase) the squirrels.
After he’d been out there for a while, he came up to the deck and wanted to come in. When I let him in…I had some hard questions for him.
“Do you know who’s been digging in the yard?” He said he saw a deer out there, digging. Kids…