A great way to not do homework and study for upcoming tests is to think about where I’ll be in a week. I will be in Arizona. I am so excited about getting to have an entire week with my mom, my sister, and my brother. I haven’t seen them since August, and we always have so much fun just spending time together and catching up.
I was thinking about this today– One of my favorite parts about being with family members is that dinner is always delightfully full of Remember-When’s. Almost every dinner hour is filled with stories and laughter (My poor brother-in-law… he usually is out of the loop on everything) and recounting all the funny things that happened to us as children.
For example, when we were very young and growing up, my mother was quite the health nut. Typical meals consisted of rice, veggies and maybe a little tofu sprinkled in, and there was almost zero sugar to be found around the house. My earliest memories of drinking pop are when the grandparents would come up to Montana to visit and, probably taking pity on us poor children, would bring bottles of Cherry Coke and chocolate milk with them.
My favorite memory of my mother’s strictness about healthy foods was when my brother Stan and I were very young and, as one of the families in our neighborhood had children our age, we went over to play at their house all the time in the summer.
One day it was particularly hot, and the mother invited us all inside for Push-Up Pops — the kind that got delivered by the large pink truck with swans on the side (at least this is how my five-year-old memory tells it).
I had never had a Push-Up Pop before, and the sight of its swirling yellow and pink deliciousness was making my mouth water. There it was. She was handing it to me. It was almost in my hands. And then the woman stops and looks down her long nose and long body (she was a very tall lady) and asks me that fateful question, “Would your mom let you have this?”
I nod fervently. “Uh-huh.”
I guess she didn’t believe me, because she actually called my mother. And MY MOM SAID NO.
I was crushed. And I had to go home without a Push-Up Pop. This was an emotionally scarring experience, if you couldn’t tell. And it set up in my mind, for a good ten years, that Push-Pops were the ultimate symbol of deliciousness. To me, nothing promised more satisfaction or happiness than a frozen pink and yellow swirling Push-Up Pop.
I distinctly remember my reverential attitude toward the Push-Up Pop.
So one day, with the impulsiveness that characterized my new-found freedom as a sixteen-year-old in high school (job + car), I stopped by on the way home from school and purchased a Push-Up Pop from a gas station with one of those deep freezers full of yummy frozen chocolate and ice cream.
I paid the cashier, got into my car silently, and set down my purse. I started the car with my one real key, accompanied by a gazillion jangling key chains (think glitter, butterflies, and stupid sayings like “Bad Attitude”).
I stared at that Push-Up Pop like it had magical powers.
I was a strange child.
I opened the wrapper aaaaaaaaaaannnnd…….. Ugh. It was NASTY. I literally could not take another bite. There was so much sugar and artificialness and it had this weird icy crumbly consistency.
I probably almost cried at that moment. After so much build-up throughout my childhood, it was a tragically anticlimactic moment. Kinda like that moment when you realize your dad isn’t Superman.
Except this was about food. The ultimate tragedy. I was cured of my obsession for Push-Pops forever.