Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Salt and Pepper (07/24/14)
TITLE: Saltines and Pepper-Jack Cheese
By Jennifer Liang
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“Gray mini-van, female driver about 60 with short salt and pepper hair, wearing sunglasses. Washington license plate started with a Z.”
Satisfied with Peter’s response Sally thanked him and turned to the victim of the crime, Peter’s 16-year old nephew Matthew. “Is there anything else I can help you with today Matthew?”
Leaning against his recently purchased red clunker Matthew crossed his arms and winked. “Just make sure you catch her. Thanks.”
Taken aback by the wink from a teenager Sally couldn’t get away fast enough. She sprinted to her waiting patrol car and sped off.
“Did you have to be such a tease Matthew? After all she was only trying to help,” Uncle Peter scolded his oldest nephew.
Humbled now, with his head held low, Matthew muttered, “Sorry Uncle Peter”.
Seated in the tow truck’s cab on their way to the mechanic Matthew asked his uncle, “What is salt and pepper hair?”
“My hair is salt and pepper,” came the quick reply.
“You mean there is an actual name for your hair color?” the teenager asked with a bit of a squeak. “I thought people just called it black and white. Why do they call it salt and pepper anyways?”
“Well, I don’t know where the name originated from but in our family we start going white early. When my first white hairs arrived I found a way to make a joke of it. I call it saltines and pepper-jack cheese.”
Matthew’s quizzical look encouraged him to continue.
“At first glance those two foods seem to be from different worlds. And really they are. But, and this is the good part, you put them together and they make a delicious snack. Have you ever tried it?”
“Are we talking about food or your hair?” asked Matthew.
“Are you sure it is not your personality showing through?”
This time it was Uncle Peter’s turn to share a quizzical look with his nephew.
Matthew continued, “I have noticed that as you get older you mellow out more and it seems to correspond with the amount of white hairs you grow. Mom told me stories of you in your younger days and how you caused a lot of trouble for Grandma and Grandpa. I like to think of it as a spicy personality.” Matthew laughed nervously at his own joke about spices. “This morning is a good example of the change. There was nothing spicy about you scolding me.”
“In other words, saltines are a lot more boring than pepper-jack cheese and I am a lot more boring than I used to be. Is that it?” Peter asked teasingly giving Matthew a playful punch on the arm.
“No, it means that you have both of those characteristics and they blend well together. Just like your salt and pepper hair. Salt and pepper together speak of maturity. Matthew paused for effect before continuing, “In my opinion at least.”
“Matthew, those are some profound thoughts for someone who just a moment ago hadn’t heard of salt and pepper hair.”
Trying to shrug off his uncle’s praise Matthew said, “Yeah, well, . . . So, when do I get to try your favorite snack?“
“How about as soon as we reach your grandparent’s place?”
“Sounds like a plan to me,” Matthew said with a wink.
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