Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Sweet to the Taste (08/23/12)
TITLE: Do You Remember?
By Deborah Engle
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“Do you guys remember Buffet Bungalow?” I did, but not with fondness. Self-serve buffets had never been my first choice, but my adolescent boys thought they were living the dream.
Gabe was quick to respond, smiling broadly. “Yes. Do you remember their jingle?”
‘Everybody’s favorite place to eat,
where no meal is complete
until all have tried their hand
at making the world’s
tallest soft serve cone.’
“Oh, yeah, with an empty bowl to catch it with, in case it toppled over.” Josiah gave an impromptu demonstration of his balancing act of days gone by.
“Making it was easy,” Bill nodded. “Getting back to the table with it intact was the hard part.”
“For you, maybe. Eating it all was the hard part for me. Mom didn’t mind us doing it, but we had to eat it all, too.” Josiah stared at me, accusingly, and they all laughed, but I just grinned back at them.
Thinking back, Bill tried to remember. “You never were that big on sweets, were you?”
A shrug of his shoulder showed he hadn’t really cared. “Sweets were okay. For me, it was more about getting full. Mom always said my legs were hollow. When I had the chance to chow down on real food, I did, but I had to do the cones just to keep you twerps from showing me up.”
“Twerp? Who’re you calling a twerp?” Gabe protested.
“Gabe’s the one that craved sweets.” Bill turned toward his second brother. “The doctor said to give you a few sips of ginger ale to calm your stomach. After one taste, you went after the whole bottle. You climbed right up over Mom’s face trying to grab it, howling all the way. No one could drink pop around you after that.”
Amidst the grins and laughter, Josiah added, “And you were only eight months old.”
“Yeah. Bro, you started young.”
Gabe acted as though such a stunt was perfectly reasonable. “I was always advanced for my age.” Seeing that the others weren’t falling for that, he changed the subject. “How about Bill? He filled his glass with so much chocolate milk powder there was no room to pour in the milk, but did he let that stop him from trying? No.”
Bill’s face was cloaked in a mask of self-righteousness. “I was three, guys.”
Gabe persisted. “Well, you weren’t three when you helped Mom out by checking your own Halloween candy.”
Josiah added, “By the time she got ready to take a look at it, you had taken one bite from every piece, and declared they were all fine.”
As the three talked on, I couldn’t help but think how things had changed. When it came to sweets, as a child, Josiah could take them or leave them. Now, he just about dives into my Sweet Pineapple Salad, and he bakes the best chocolate chip cookies. Noticing his still slim silhouette, I concluded that if he had to be the one to love treats, at least he got the genes for it.
On the other extreme, Gabe’s determined efforts to reach my pop had transformed into iron-willed determination to resist all sweets. He could be the guest of honor at a Dessert Potluck without taking one bite. He still loves sweets, but his fitness goals have higher priority now. And if Bill were given a choice between chocolate milk, Halloween candy, or steamed veggies, there would be no contest. He would choose the veggies every time -- not that he doesn’t eat any sweets. He just likes to eat healthy.
The chatter stopped suddenly and I looked up. By the time Josiah handed me my jacket, Gabe and Bill were already in the car. “Since it’s time for dinner, we decided to treat you to an all-you-can-eat meal at Buffet Bungalow. It is still open, isn’t it?”
Hesitating at first, I finally blurted out, “Yes, but there’s a nice sit down place –“
Josiah looked me square in the face. “Mom, my baby brother just issued a soft serve cone challenge to me and Gabe. I think they both need to be put in their place. You do agree, don’t you?”
Oh, well. My three sons were taking me to dinner.
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