It’s 7:58 A.M. and Mom sounds awful.
Tata: What’s the matter? Is Grandpa dead?
Mom: No. Is Grandpa dead?
Tata: What? Why are you crying?
Mom: I’m not crying. I have a cold.
Tata: You sound dreadful.
Mom: I’ve had an adventure and there’s no one else to tell.
Tata: I’m on pins and needles. Tell!
Mom: I just made rice crispy treats.
Tata: Why, God, why?!
Mom: I heated marshmallows until they turned into – what is that stuff?
Mom: Yes. Fluff. A piping hot cauldron of Fluff. I poured in the rice crispies and tried folding them in with a spatula. Do you know what happens next?
Tata: You’re overcome by the terror of the Abyss?
Mom: That stuff cools so quickly you can’t believe it and forms spider webs. It also sticks to everything. It stuck to the spatula.
Tata: You have Anya’s and Corinne’s little boys today, don’t you? I thought you were going to introduce them to the chemistry of baking?
Mom: Yes, but I thought they needed rice crispy treats to sustain them. Whew! Grandmotherin’ is hard work!
Tata: I’m shocked! What happened next?
Mom: I used another spatula to get the treats off the first spatula but it didn’t work and the spider webs were all over everything. I did the only thing I could do.
Tata: Cleaned your kitchen with a flame thrower?
Mom: I sprayed both my hands with canola oil, tested the temperature and stuck my hands in the crunchy marshmallow. Then I remembered you’re supposed to press them flat with wax paper.
Tata: It’s my belief that Kellogg’s is a wholly owned subsidiary of Exxon/Mobil and rice crispy treats will turn out to be the fuel source of the future, not to mention that it probably floats. Oooh! Giant chunks of rice crispy treat may be the sticky, non-nutrititious life preserver we throw exhausted polar bears in Arctic waters. “Here, Mrs. Polar Bear! Have a nap, a nosh and by the time you swim to the next sticky buoy, most of the marshmallow will be unstuck from your fur!”
Mom: I used the cocoa crispies. I figured I could as easily add some chocolate to this affair as use the plain.
Tata: The polar bears will be pleased!
Mom: Grandmothering is not for the faint of heart!
This is the same person who corrected my grammar at the dinner table until I turned 18 and beat a path for Anywhere Else. She couldn’t help it. Later, I realized that I still didn’t know – excuse me – shit about good grammar and tried studying. I learned a few things. It’s all been terribly awkward since I started forgetting the names of things, which left me with no idea how to demonstrate grammatical right and wrong and great curiosity about the structure and function of language. Yesterday, I watched with rapt attention as a professor of Italian literature lectured on sentence structure on popular television series Sportello Italiano. Let’s be completely clear: I don’t speak Italian. I understood most of what the professor was saying and that he was funny. Still, I couldn’t believe I was watching gorgeous people diagram sentences on international television, so it should come as no surprise that Mom now calls to describe her antics.
Tata: I’ve got to get back to work now. Have some tea. Glad Grandpa’s not dead!
Mom: Me, too. I’ve got two little boys in half an hour who expect to bake cookies.
Tata: Good luck with that. Wait, why are you filling these boys with sugar?
Mom: Rice crispy treats are part of their heritage and I’m here to help.
Tata: You’re going to make it impossible for Anya and Corinne to leave grocery stores without ingredients, aren’t you? Confess!
Mom: Do you know what’s hard work? Because I could tell you…