I just saw a joke about a girl who wouldn’t eat her bacon because she learned bacon came from those cute little piggies she saw at the fair. So, her dad gave her an egg. Now that’s funny to me.
Food is an amazing wonderful element we all deal with daily. I was surprised though when I was telling a grand story about my past to a friend about … Well, let me tell it to you all the way. But! Yes as you will see, a mashed potato covered “but.” Even though I do not condone some actions of my past, I would not change a thing.
It was a very warm evening. Warm enough to make a cube of butter sitting on a dish on a dinner table kind of mushy. Even though a cube of butter will hold its shape when it’s warm, it will start to show signs of heat by acquiring a slouching effect as it sits on that plate. So, when I asked my sister, when I was maybe 12, to pass the butter during that warm evening meal who could predict the next events.
Playfully she held up the butter dish and kind of wagged it back and forth towards me. Taunting as siblings will do. She wagged it a few times when suddenly that warm butter slid off the little butter plate and splat me across the face. I am sure there were words of angst and flibber-de-gibbet.
Luckily dad who had no sense of humor at such events had already left the table or the next things would not have happened to make this a grand story. After the shock wore off I noticed the mashed potatoes were sitting right next to me. Did I? Oh, you bet I did. Picked up a 12-year-old’s handful-size and gave a nice over handed throw. Direct hit and additionally some hit the last of the three of us children, my brother, somewhere around the vicinity of his left ear.
I remember peas being lined up along the table edge and hearing, “FIRE ONE!” You can fill in the rest I am sure. And, as they say, that is how the fight started. Also, that’s how we ended up washing the dining room walls late into the night. It was THE BEST FOOD FIGHT EVER.
It is the nature of the sibling beast to fight. It is also within that nature to move on but never forget.
That moving on happens over time. Taking all those memories hiding in the corners of your heart and head, that over time are stuffed into a virtual duffel bag — or nice suitcase from JC Penney’s, along with you as you skip happily down your path of life. The cool thing about this particular memory of that family food fight is that it is always remembered differently around the table of life. Who really started it? Who really got into trouble? Who? What? How? Questions asked of memories from years gone by. Memories are like my favorite fruit, cherries. You gobble up the sweetness and spit out the pits. And in spitting, if you are like me, some of those juicy memories will be left on the front of the shirt of your soul.
Unless of course they are on video somewhere. I prefer the old method of memory. The way things are stored in my head. Today when anything happens someone whips out a device to capture it all. Then the event is passed around a table on a little screen without so much as ten words of explanation or exaggerated hand waves and squeaks and moans while telling the story. I do all those when I tell a memory. Will that all be lost with everything being picture-ized? Man I hope not.
I have a friend who I have known for many years but have not seen in just as many years. We have talked in the past few years and memories are different for both of us because our lives took such different paths. The recalling of memories though is the same. You are talking about this or that and poof! Before you know it you’re reaching into the depths of your brain pulling out the memory of driving or eating or kissing, or having a food fight. Then you get to tell it and animate it and express it and relive it as you share. Is it better than using a finger on a piece of glass scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, looking for a memory? I think so. Oh I still want pictures for the sake of pictures. But the memories. Those I want to tell you about.
Trina Machacek lives in Eureka. Her book, “They Call Me Weener,” is available on Amazon.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a signed copy.