How about this oldie but goodie about food: It’s an episode from when the family lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. There are five of us children living at home, Jimmy, Kay, Scott, Net and me, Adam.

Here we are sitting at the dinner table, and I can picture all five of us kids and mom. Is dad there? Dang, I can’t recall, but I think not. The rest I see, however, and it’s near the end of the meal. I have potato chips on my plate, even then one of my fave foods. Now, I can’t imagine why I’d have chips on my dinner plate; my mom cooked, she cooked every meal for us, and chips were only for snacks and for lunchies, they were not a meal-time food. But nevertheless I had Chippos on my plate, a processed and pressed potato product that I loved. ‘Loved’, with a capital YUM!

I’d left a piece of fat on the plate, from whatever the meat-portion of the meal was, and I may have already expressed my dislike for that. (I was a pretty soft-spoken kid who kept myself to myself, but I had thoughts and opinions about food…..I’m still working out those issues) Well, I turned away from my plate for a moment and turned back and Jimmy, ten years my senior, had taken the last chip off my plate. My last potato chip! And it was a tube-shaped chip at that! J’ais proteste! I made that up to sound like French for I protested: “Jimmy took my chip!!” summoning emotion for a stolen potato chip as only a six-year-old can….

But I must confess that even as an adult I have a six-year-old’s emotion for my snacks. It’s not something I’m really proud of, but it’s the truth. So let me just say that I get the six-year-old’s chip-theft reaction. For reals, I get it. (to illustrate: in the year 1999, I went on a lunch break with a co-worker to get sandwiches and chips. As we drive back to work, me driving, she dives into the chips and I have a mild sort-of-panic attack, and exclaim {yes, I exclaimed} “I need those chips for my sandwich!”, because a sandwich isn’t the same without the crunch to counterpoint it. It’s not always about the flavor, the texture is important also.)

And so, with the emotion of a potato chip fanatic, I yelled “Mom, Jimmy took my chip!” But it didn’t matter, he gave it up right away, no fuss or arguing….so easy he gave it up, he did, that I should have been suspicious, I should have peered inside that tube of a chip. But I did not peer. I ate it. I was not about to waste any time looking. I needed that chip! So I ate it….and only then did I realize what he’d done.

He had stuffed that little fat-remnant from my plate inside the chip, and it was now in my mouth. Well, I ate it. Oh, yes, it was there and there was no turning back, so I ate it. But oh, my face: I can picture it as if I was one of the siblings looking at me, the disappointment, the horror of the fatty tidbit in my mouth, the heartbreak of a delicious  potato chip ruined; ruined by a soft-yet-chewy fleshy piece of yuck.

Poor little red-haired six-year-old, the butt of the big-brother’s joke, the ruined last taste of the meal to carry with me into the night. Oh, the dramatics of it all, to allow this moment to live on in my memory forty-plus years on….

Well, at least I can laugh at it now…somewhat. More potato chip stories to come, believe me.

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