This must be the place.
As I secured my bike to a nearby chain link fence, I was reminded about two days prior when my girlfriend Charlotte insisted I meet her parents.
When she asked them about it, they invited me over for dinner.
The house was a cookie-cutter 1970s style ranch located in one of the oldest subdivisions just outside of the main city. Everything looked retro, like they had never changed a thing since the house was built.
Even the doorbell looked and sounded old when I pressed it.
Charlotte opened the wooden door. Her smile and her twinkling eyes beamed with joy.
I know I love her.
Charlotte whisked me into the dining room where everyone was already seated, waiting for my arrival. Charlotte introduced me to her dad, mom and her little brother Brayden, then announced, “You may sit here, right next to me.”
As I settled into my seat, the dad dutifully folded his hands and said, “Let us pray. Lord, we thank you for this day and for our honored guest. We thank and pray You bless this food. Amen.”
Everyone responded in unison, “Amen.”
The dad seems nice enough.
I gawked at the bowls and plates loaded with snacks in the middle of the table.
Really? This is what passes for dinner here? Amazing.
“Alexander, could you please pass the plate of Twinkies?”
Well, the mom seems like she is syrupy sweet.
“Yeah, okay—here you go.” I grabbed the piled high platter and carefully handed it to her and she passed it around.
Unreal, I thought to myself, with my eyebrows raised. These people really love their junk food.
Charlotte encouraged me with a smile. “Go ahead and help yourself: take as much as you want.”
I placed a couple of Twinkies on my plate, forming an ‘11’.
Charlotte’s younger brother grabbed a large Tupperware bowl of greasy potato chips and shoveled two handfuls on to his plate. “I want chips!”
“Now, remember Brayden, we need to save some for our guest.”
I need to fit in here somehow… for Charlotte.
I cleared my throat and said as formally as I could, “Please pass me the cheese puffs.”
“Oh these are Cheetos Puffs. I got these shipped direct from the factory: they are very fresh.”
The dad is really into this junk food.
“I got it. I’ll take as much as I want.”
I looked around the table at the Junk Food Family of four. They shoved chips and Twinkies in their mouths and chewed like a pack of ravenous wolves tearing apart innocent prey.
“It’s time for the main course: Moon Pies and sugar donuts—we cover these with Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup, with little Snickers bars on the side. Go ahead Alexander, take a bunch.”
I think the mom is crazy.
“Yes, ma’am.” I took everything in the order and the way she told me to. As I picked up my fork and took a couple of bites, I felt all four of them staring at me, smiling.
What did I do wrong now?
I asked out loud, “What? Did I do something wrong? I’m so sorry.”
The dad spoke up. “No, son, you have done everything right. You are the first boy to pass The Junk Food Test. Every other boy Charlotte brought here would’ve run out by now.”
“Yeah, one ran to the front door screaming, You’re nuts, you’re all crazy, I’m outta here, but his hand was so greasy from the potato chips he couldn’t get the door open. It was SO funny!”
“Let this be a lesson, young Alexander: Blessed junk food is still junk food.” The dad wiped his mouth with a paper napkin. “So it is with spiritual things. We can read stories and books about the word of God until we are blue in the face, but until we actually read and digest the Bible itself for ourselves, we will never take it to heart.”
Charlotte added, “We need to study to show—”
“To show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15. I memorized that one in Bible Quizzing.”
The mom responded, “Wonderful: you are the one! Okay, we’ll save all this junk food for the football game tomorrow. We’re going out for dinner now—not at McDonalds—and a movie.”
Brayden blurted, “Cool! We can get some movie theater popcorn with extra butter and salt!”
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