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February 28, 2012: Squashed Hopes

February 28, 2012

My sisters all tell me that I could not possibly remember this story as I was very young. I have to admit that is possible that this is not a memory as I DO have quite a vivid imagination. All I know is that I seem to have a number of memories from a very young age: I remember quite well that unique marriage of bobby pin and electrical socket as a toddler (“OH! I’ve seen the adults do this! I know just where this goe…ZAP!!!!) I remember my crush on Mighty Mouse’s girlfriend (…and I DO feel a tad guilty that I can’t remember her name. Such is the capricious nature of young love.) And…I remember this story.

Wind up the Way-Back machine to my family household, early-60’s: Dinnertime in the Vedder homestead was a lively affair in those days. At this time, we had seven kids, with another one due in a couple of years from this point. [Let’s put it this way, if the Weasley household could compliment an entire Quidditch team, the Vedder household could provide the team, a coach and a cheerleader to boot!]

Barely a toddler, I’m still in the baby chair. At the main table, there is the classic test of wills between my parents and my older sisters.. The kids are boycotting eating their vegetables, in this instance,  winter squash. My parent’s rule with this kind of thing was simple: you don’t finish your plate, you don’t get dessert. End of story. Now, with a household full of many, energetic and strong-willed children, my poor parents had a tough job. They did a lot of pretty cool things to raise us all, but the “dessert rule” was not one of their more stellar ones. Making dessert special just managed to turn us all into raging sugar-fiends!

At the point where my sisters are debating the value of eating something they absolutely hate to get to eat something they love, my parents (as if they didn’t have enough to do) are drawn downstairs with some kind of household emergency. It was then that the kids have a revelation: over in the corner, happily munching his squash, is me. “Welllll, then.” they think, “If Stevie likes squash that much, we know where there is lot more of that!” They then proceed to pile all their own squash into my bowl, to then skip downstairs to inform my parents that they are ready for dessert!

Now, this is the part I will never be able to convince my sisters. I’ve seen distinct character traits like this in the very young. I dunno..are we hardwired to have fairly sophisticated emotions from day one? Is it reincarnation? All, I know, is that if this same thing happened to me today, I would feel exactly the same…and that is PISSED! I loved squash then (still do) but I was NOT about to eat all of my sibling’s squash! So, in my toddler’s mind, the solution was easy: take that bowl and fling it!

Of course, as soon as everyone came up from downstairs it was immediately evident that the jig was up! No dessert for anyone that night, for which my sisters have never forgiven me.

So, when this story comes up, and I am castigated by my sisters for my transgression (and that part I understand…preventing a sweet fix is a cardinal offense in my family) but when I recollect a clear memory of it happening, and get called “fibber?” Well…it can’t really be proven one way or the other. Luckily, I have spent years developing my mature reason, mellowed with dignity, and tact. I just reply to them, “I know YOU are, but what am I?”

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