Thursday, January 8, 2009

Of Fluff and Language

I made the girls a fluffernutter yesterday. It was a hit.

Since Tabitha has been cleared for peanut butter, we have gone through something like five or eight tons of the stuff, in just about every conceivable form. We've made peanut butter cookies. We've made PBJ's. We've made peanut butter sandwiches with nothing else in them, the way Lauren likes them but without the safety measures that we had to take before last week (storing the peanut butter in the most inaccessible cabinet in Wisconsin, spreading out a paper towel, using a disposable knife, wiping the counter down with a Clorox wipe, and so on). We have even let the girls eat it with a spoon, straight from the tribal-sized bucket that I purchased on Saturday, though Kim insists that no spoon go back into the bucket for seconds.

It has been a peanut butter festival around here, yes indeed.

In the middle of this, a nagging little voice in the back of my head - the one that, in other people, reminds them of moral issues - said, "You know, Dave, this is all well and good, but it's not unhealthy enough. Isn't there something you could add that would make the peanut butter both sickly sweet and adhesive enough to serve as spackle?"

And you know, there was!

My dad's mother came to live with us when I was about Tabitha's age, shortly after her own mother passed away. I don't have a whole lot of memories of my great-grandmother - all I really remember is a thin old woman on a bed, reaching out for me - but Grandmom more than made up for that. She had been through a lot in her life, and was a woman of definite opinions and no real hesitation about expressing them in as colorful a manner as she saw fit, which could be pretty colorful. I learned most of my swear words from her during the Watergate crisis, when politics would continually pre-empt her favorite soap operas, and even after five years as a firefighter and twenty-five years as a stagehand I have run into very few people who could speak that language as eloquently as she did. I don't know what the parenting manuals would have said about her, but for a nine-year-old boy she was an awful lot of fun to have around.

As a child, I lived on peanut butter in all of its various forms, and the highlight of all that - the ultimate peanut butter experience - was the fluffernutter, a sandwich made from peanut butter and marshmallow fluff. Or, as my grandmother would call out to me while I was playing with my friends, "Do you want another peanut butter and cement sandwich, Davela?"* This would shortly be followed by her saying, mostly to herself, "Why do I even bother to ask?" and, often, by another string of softly muttered words that I would always try to catch because educational opportunities should never be squandered.

Ah, childhood.

So now I have introduced the girls to peanut butter and cement sandwiches. Lauren was just enraptured, and had two more before nightfall. Tabitha said she liked them better than just straight peanut butter, though given the choice for lunch today she chose a buttered bagel.

I know what I'm going to have for lunch, though.


* I'm not sure why she called me that. Nobody else ever did, and that's quite all right, thank you.

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