I often stare at my children in disbelief at the latest insane thing they have done and wonder where they learned to be so hard headed. Lately these questions are quickly put to bed by a memory from Grandma Hamm's kitchen.
The first thing I did when I stepped foot in that house from the time I could walk to the moment I got my license & could provide for myself was go straight toward the kitchen. Outlined with rich wooden cabinets and a linoleum tile floor that had yellowed over time, the kitchen was a treasure chest full of culinary delights. It was common in those days before they became afraid of salt, cholesterol, and taste to find a leftover T-bone, a fried pork chop, or a slice of cold pizza.
I had to have been around six or seven. It was one of the rare occasions that my scavenger hunt for food had come up short. I was forced to settle on a bowl rice chex. I remember her sitting across the table in those old leather dining chairs that spun around; the perfect thing for an after meal adventure trying to cross the room without putting feet on floor. As I began the process of pouring the cereal and adding the milk, I grabbed for the salt.
"Hey hey hey what r you doing there?" "I always put this in my cereal at home Granny"
"Are you sure you don't mean sugar? That's salt you're holding"
As if she were the one making the mistake by questioning my judgement, I replied in disdain "I know what it is! I do it all the time.". After all this was not my first bowl of cereal. Still she persisted "Sweetie I don't think you understand. That is salt! Not sugar. " It didn't matter though I was right and that was that. So in went an entire teaspoon of salt into the bowl of milk & chex.
Now immediately as my taste buds began to seize up, I understood that the old lady sitting across from me with that look of despair across her face was more wise than I was giving her credit for. Still just like my own children some thirty years later, I couldn't stop the madness once it got started....so I added another dash in hopes it would by some biblical miracle make the disaster better....which it didn't.
I remember the sense of dread that came over me as I was forced to either admit I was wrong or eat the entire bowl of seawater chex that lay before me...and I remember eating the entire bowl drinking the milk and all. I never once admitted my mistake although I'm positive the truth was plastered all over my face. To this day I remember that smirk on her face as she asked if I'd like another bowl.