The most disastrous gift my parents ever gave was on the eighth birthday I shared with my twin brother, Bob. They should have known disaster was imminent. We were given a set of genuine, battery operated, highly desired GI Joe walkie-talkies with a range of up to 300 yards. The biggest adventure of our young lives was about to begin.
“This is Bobwhite (SCREEECH, SQUEEEEL) calling Fat Pat. Come in Fat Pat.”
I hated that Bob always found a way to rub me wrong. This was going to be too much fun, though, so I let his insult slide.
“No Fat Pat here. (BRAAAACH, SCHWEEEER) This is Rat-a-tat Pat. Come in Bobwhite.”
“Hi, Rat, this is Bobwhite….”
We didn’t put the walkie-talkies down that first day until both batteries were totally dead. Not even the Morse Code button worked. It had been a great day and we immediately began to pester our parents for new batteries.
While waiting for batteries, Bob and I began planning what sort of things could be done with our new walkie-talkies. One thing, of course, we had already done… we could just play. Being the boys we were, though, just playing would never be enough. Our driving question was “What could we do now that we couldn’t have done before?” The answer to that question is the exact time we started laying plans for the disaster to come.
Two days later, with new batteries installed, we set “The Plan” into motion. I put the earpiece for my walkie-talkie into my ear and headed for the kitchen. Bob set out to find Mom and, once located, he pushed the ‘Talk’ button down.
“Hi Mom. Where’s (SQUEEEEEL) Dad?”
I could hear the transmission perfectly.
“He’s at the office. Why?” Mom almost always ended her statements with a question. It’s something Bob and I learned to ignore, since she never really seemed to expect an answer anyway.
“So, Mom, (SCHREEECH, SQUARRBLE) what are you doing in the sewing room sitting at the sewing machine?”
“I’m… sewing. What kind of question was that?”
“Oh, you’re sewing. (WARBLE, WEEERICK) How long will you be sewing?” I figured Bob was going to blow the plan by asking too many stupid questions, but Mom pulled through just fine.
“I’ll just be another few minutes. Would you like to learn how to sew something?” Bob had to be swallowing hard on that one.
“Sure, Mom. I’d just love to learn how to sew.” I was so glad it was Bob in there and not me. He was sooooo smooth.
All the while Bob was in his sewing lesson I was busy in the kitchen. Dad was gone, Mom was enthralled with Bob’s interest in sewing and that left me in the kitchen with a cupboard full of every snack we owned. I quickly pulled a chair over to the cabinet and climbed up. It was more of a treasure land than I had imagined. We had Twinkies, Toaster Pop Ups, Granola Bars and….
Tucked in the back of the top cupboard was four (1, 2, 3, yes… 4) packages of Nutter Butter Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies. Never in my life had I ever seen that many cookies in our house at one time. This was the treasure I was after.
Bob was still in the sewing room. I was actually feeling sorry for him.
“Show me again (BRAAAACCKK)how you get it to sew so straight.” Bob was brilliant. He had given me all the time I needed to pull off the Great American Cookie Heist.
Later that evening, after Bob and I had spent an entire afternoon in our clubhouse shed eating cookies, Mom called us into the house to… yep… eat dinner. Pot Roast, baked potatoes, corn on the cob… all the foods that Bob and I loved but we were too stuffed with cookies to eat a bite of dinner. Of course, Mom and Dad noticed.
“You’re not eating, boys. Is something wrong?”
“No, Mom. We just aren’t hungry.”
“It wouldn’t be because of the cookies that are missing from the cupboard, would it?”
“What cookies, Dad?”
“The ones we got for your Boy Scout meeting tonight.”
We were sent to bed early that night. Mom must have been right outside our bedroom door because we could hear our walkie-talkies loud and clear.
“Mama Bear, this is Daddy Bear. (SQUAAACK, SQUEEEEEL) I have located the evidence in the clubhouse. We’ll deal with it tomorrow. Over.”