Once upon a time, I liked to eat. My Mom made very good food. Veggie burgers, lasagna, stroganoff, stew, fresh-baked bread…
My Dad made some good stuff too sometimes. Like potato salad.
Once in a while, we would get something extra special. Like ice cream, or homemade cinnamon rolls.
So one day, we had a picnic. All kinds of good picnic food. Hot dogs, potato salad, salsa, watermelon, corn on the cob. And…root beer.
We hardly ever got soda. But when we did, I loved it. Loved it.
When the picnic was over, I was keenly aware that there was a smidgin of root beer left in the two-litre bottle that went back in the refrigerator. I was also aware that nothing would help me sleep better than one little gulp of cold root beer right before bedtime.
I waited until the lights were out, my siblings were asleep, and I could hear my parents in their bedroom. I sneaked down the stairs, into the dark kitchen, and slowly squeezed open the refrigerator door. Pulled out the bottle, twisted the cap, pulled it up to my nose and savored the aroma of A&W perfection. Tilted it over my head, and quickly poured a generous glomph into my waiting mouth. Swallowed half…and then realized that something was not right.
It was salty.
Root beer is not salty. What was wrong? I held it in my mouth for another two seconds, and came to the realization that something was very, very wrong. Just then, I heard a noise. I spat out the remainder in the sink and turned around to see my Dad squatted behind the counter, chortling with the glee of a magician who has just pulled off the perfect trick. Which, in a way, he had.
His knowledge of human nature, and of his oldest son in particular (me) was such that he knew exactly what I would be doing. So: he emptied the root beer bottle and filled the last two inches with soy sauce. Soy sauce. I was drinking soy sauce. Soy sauce. Not root beer. Soy sauce. Soy sauce.
He was so proud of himself that he pulled out another bottle of root beer from behind the counter and gave himself a big chug from it.
Then I laughed, a little.
The lesson I learned was that it is important to play a lot of practical jokes on your kids.
Questions for the Little Ones, and Everyone.
What are your favorite things to make in the kitchen?
What is the difference between baking and cooking?
What are your three favorite foods?
What makes something healthy?
What are your favorite "special foods?"
What is the best brand of root beer?
Why are picnics more fun than regular old meals?
Who are your favourite people to picnic with?
What is a really good trick to play on someone, like your parents?
What is the difference between a good funny trick and a mean trick?