As was her practice, Mom prepared a full course dinner every evening. We never left the table hungry. She served dessert on holidays and rare occasions only; her reasoning was simple: Daddy didn’t need any more calories.
Nevertheless, optimism and some old habits die hard. No sooner would Daddy leave the table, he’d fall asleep in front of the TV, then awake and, believing it was time for a snack, take his after dinner walk from the sofa to the refrigerator in search of sweeter things.
Sometimes, if Mom was out of the kitchen, he got lucky; he managed to find some cookies or something sweet hiding in one of the cupboards. More often than not, Mom was still at the sink. She’d watch Daddy go to the freezer and check to see if any ice cream was left. She didn’t even have to ask, she knew what he was looking for. Not that she kept quiet …
Honey, didn’t you have enough to eat already?
Don’t worry about what I’m doing; I’m just walking around…
Daddy would come back out into the front room, drink what was left of his after dinner coffee (black with a little bit of sugar) and try to look pitiful enough to evoke sympathy from us two girls or anyone who happened to be handy.
Your mother never has anything good around here to go with coffee…she hides everything, you know…
During one of our first holidays together, my husband and I traveled down with our “first born”, a cockapoo named SammyDog. Mom, who was afraid of most dogs, actually liked Sammy Dog; they had become a mutual admiration society. Sammy Dog liked all the leg of lamb bones Mom saved for him, and Mom liked the fact that he was as friendly, harmless, and as well-behaved as he was. She would often ask us if we would take Daddy back with us for a couple of weeks and try to train him to behave as well as the dog. Daddy just ignored the remark. Daddy loved dogs so; with Sammy Dog around, Daddy at least felt he had an ally.
One particular evening, Daddy roamed around, looking for something to eat. As a rule, we girls automatically assumed our old roles and were good daughters; in years past, we would have scrounged up a treat from one of Mom’s hiding places for Daddy to have a little something with his evening coffee. This time, however, we saw an opportunity to have a little fun at Daddy’s expense; so, once Daddy had returned to the living room empty handed, my sister and I walked back into the kitchen.
Sammy Dog had received some presents for Christmas. Sitting on the washer with the bag of dog food was a small box of doggy pretzels. They were chocolate-covered, apparently to make them look really enticing to the buyers and pet owners. Knowing our father’s penchant for anything with chocolate on it, we girls found a dessert dish and carefully arranged the chocolate-covered pretzels on the fancy glass plate. When Mom saw and heard what we were working on, she tried to protest but was giggling so hard we had to ask her to quiet down! We left the filled dish on the corner of the washer, right near the refrigerator.
Daddy missed the pretzels on his next round. He came back out and sat down to resume watching TV. So, one of us quietly returned to the kitchen and this time, moved the glass plate out to the dining room and laid it on the table’s corner nearest to the kitchen doorway. If Daddy were to get up again (chances were good, we were there visiting and he was trying to stay awake), he’d have to walk by the dining table on his way to the refrigerator. Sure enough; it wasn’t long before the optimist again got up…
Well, well…what have we here?
We pretended not to notice or hear as he picked up one of the chocolate-covered pretzels and returned to the sofa. He was chewing the “cookie” and sipping his coffee, but by his expression, we could tell it didn’t taste as good as it looked, and he was beginning to regret his first swallow.
Where did your mother get these?
I quickly got up and ran around the other door into the kitchen’s nook where I joined Mom, both of us giggling and trying to hold back our laughter, still waiting for the finale. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite get the reaction I was hoping for.
Daddy only remembered my Anadama bread (a New England corn bread) that I baked once and was told in no uncertain terms to never ever make again! Trying to be more diplomatic this time, Daddy whispered to my younger sister,
Who baked this crap? It tastes like s@&$*%(#t. Your sister didn’t bake again, did she?