Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I REMEMBER- The Shoe in the Pasta

...when my sons (Ian, Nick, Dustin) and I were living in a small apartment in midtown Sacramento about 1995. The boys were 10, 8 and 6 years old. It was often like a small fraternity house with house rules that wouldn't work in any other circumstances. This one particular night, because of time constraints (baseball, karate or soccer, etc.), it was going to be a skillet hamburger-helper dinner with no plates. Everybody would gather around the skillet with a fork...kind of like camping out, but with indoor plumbing. There is no way you can put three pre-teen boys in a cramped little kitchen and expect them to hold still, with instructions to don't move, don't touch-tease-punch-kick, blah,blah,blah your brother(s). You can ask it. You can demand it. You can yell it. You are not going to get it. This is what you get instead: Dustin (8) decides to show off his best Ninja fighting style moves [this is the part where I need to share that, as the smaller, younger brother, you ALWAYS get to wear perfectly reusable hand-me-down clothes from your older, bigger brothers].

So, the one-skillet hamburger-helper dish is almost done. The four of us are gathered around the stove, forks in hand. Although somewhat hoarse from yelling to "stop fooling around", I managed to squeak out one last warning, when Dustin gave one final high kick and the almost-the-right-size hand-me-down tennis shoe flew off and in as much real-time slow motion as real life can get, arched its way slowly to the ceiling and yes, came crashing down right smack in the middle of our one-skillet hamburger-helper dinner. Sauce flew in all directions, mostly on me, but a good helping on the stove, the walls, the floors, etc.

Time froze, the boys froze and slowly turned to see if my head would actually spin completely around before I turned into an alien from Hell, punishing all living things in my path. Actually, there is a high spot on the pain threshold that is somewhat pain-free, humorous and surreal.

This was one of those moments. Like I was in a dream-state, I slowly removed the sauce covered tennis shoe, dropped it into the sink and announced "Let's eat." The four of us consumed that dinner in complete silence in about two minutes.

No one complained. No one spoke. No one laughed....until almost the end and the " I guess Dad is not going to kill us after all" relief kicked in and as they stared at my sauce covered face...everybody started to laugh. We must have laughed for at least 10 minutes.

Classic moment....one of my favorite stories...perfect for most parents and really perfect for single parents.

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