21 April 2020

Bess Tuggle's Memoirs of Surviving Children: Cherishing New Memories in the New Normal

Covid-19. Covid-19. Covid19. That’s -all- you ever hear about anymore. Sheltering in place might be a pain in the arse, but it brings back memories and is creating some new, often hilarious, ones for me.

My youngest, Thing 4 (for those that don’t know or remember, I never mention names; I call them “Things,” in birth order, with thanks to Dr. Seuss’ “Cat in the Hat”) has been a foodie since he was born. This child is -serious- about his food! He could make his own grits, and let me sleep in, by the time he was three. I’d put 1 tablespoon of grits in a bowl, put the tablespoon next to the bowl and leave it on the kitchen counter. He -knew- the number 3, his age (and how I remember it). Three tablespoons of water in the bowl. Mix it up. Drag out the step-stool, put his bowl in the micro, and hit the “3” button on the front. He got his grits and he was -happy-! And so was I. It was a rare occasion I got to sleep in back then.

As he got older, he got better – and worse. His nickname became “Hoover.” This child didn’t eat his food, he -inhaled- it! He also couldn’t keep his fingers out of a bowl or pot while I was cooking. Just so you know, that doesn’t cut it in my kitchen and by then he was too big to spank.

The older he got, the worse he got. When he’s home, we don’t feed him (or my step-son) steak. It’s not tasted, savored or enjoyed. It’s inhaled! Chicken ‘n dumplins? His favorite. Try to cook a pot while he’s sneaking the chicken as I roll out the dumplins. Brownies, cookies – same thing. He -has- to have his fingers in the bowl. A good one is pecan pie. It’s one of his favorites. When I bake them I always make two out of necessity. He is -going- to grab one and lick it! That’s his way of insuring that’s “his” pie! All his, only his.

Now that he’s stationed in Okinawa, the fun, and food, continues. The child -loves- sushi. LOVES it! He’s told me it’s much better, and cheaper, than state-side. He can eat his weight in sushi every single day. He’s 6’2” and -all- muscle. That’s a LOT of sushi!

But, with the “sheltering in place” he has to spend more time at home – with his wife and daughters. They’re there with him. I love the pictures of him playing on the playground with his girls. The smile on his face is -priceless-! What I really laugh about is his wife, Thingette 4. Bless her heart…

My daughter-in-law has decided to learn how to bake. I applaud her for it! Especially learning with two little girls (a 2 year old and a 6 month old) to care for. She’s enjoying it, too! I’m more than willing to share recipes with her and looking forward to them coming back state-side so we can bake together. But, aside from the girls, she’s learning to bake with her husband, my youngest monster, in the house. He still can’t keep his fingers out of a bowl or pot. She’s gone deeper into baking than I’ve ever thought about. Can make a good pecan pie, too! I sent the recipe. How she made it with the monster in the house is beyond me.

I suggested locking the kitchen door, but that won’t work. Two entrances to the kitchen. Only one has a door (ours has two entrances and -no- doors). I think she could use a paddle, but he’s twice her size. Even if she can -keep- him out of the kitchen, that doesn’t mean he won’t “thunder” through the house. He’s a bull in a china shop. Anyone that’s ever had a cake fall from “stomping” through the kitchen will understand this frustration.

I could go on and on… LOVE the snippets I get from Japan.

All this to say: New memories are being made. Enjoy them. It’s been a time to re-connect, even if it’s at a distance. Cherish it. Learn more about friends that you’ve never met in person… Maybe it -was- about time for a re-set. Looking forward to the world on the other side of it. I have to believe it’ll be much kinder and gentler.