No, I am not going on a trip, but as soon as the weather cools off for more than 1 or 2 days, I will be outta here with my fishing gear and out on the docks with my dad either catching a lot of fish or no fish because that is the way it goes! So I am not talking about suitcase packing just now (but soon!) Nor am I going to tell you how much Storm is packin'. And I absolutely do not want to know how much heat your man is packin' either. I just hope you feel like Goldilocks and that it is "just right." What I am talking about is packing lunch.
I do not know where my mother's poor lunch packing skills came from back in the 1970's and 80's. She is an excellent cook, wonderful housekeeper, best stain getter-outter, and all that. She is so clean she often smells like bleach. Sometimes that's how we find her when we don't know where she is at in my house or her bi-level home -- we follow the smell of bleach, and yep, there she is all bright and shiny. Either that or we just listen for her cough as bleach irritates her lungs, but she cannot go one day without cleaning with it for some reason. I have asthma and so I have actually hidden the bottle from her at times. She is very much an excellent housekeeper and those other things, but, packing lunches? Not so much. It was so bad that my dad recruited me to take over his lunch making and brown paper bagging it as he was a working class union man who absolutely loved his job, would tell us kids that, and never once complained about his long hours and shift work. I spent a lot of time (some begrudgingly) fixing his nice sandwich with meat, cheese, lettuce, etc. I did get a little kick out of it though because my dad would eat ANYTHING I put in there. It cracked me up that I could just put a whole tomato in there was no problem whatsoever for him. Or a leftover pork chop. I could throw a green pepper in there, too, and that was easy because he didn't want it sliced. He wanted to eat it whole, seeds and all. Apparently this is entertaining and helps pass the time when you are a truck driver. That and listening to Rush Limbaugh on the AM radio before he went off the rails (although I suspect that he was never quite on them in the first place.) Occasionally, I'd throw in an apple but only if other supplies were limited as these apples were awful because my mom didn't know how to pick them. From the grocery store, not from a tree. It wasn't until I was in my late 20's and married for a while that I discovered good red apples did not in fact taste like saw dust, wet paper, and have saggy waxed skin. My dad and I laugh about that to this day. He feels that he has to tell my mom exactly what to buy, (Fuji). He gets so excited when she buys the right kind. And he pitches a fit when it is the wrong kind (Honeycrsip) and tells her he's not eating those. (He will but he will be mad at those apples the entire time he is eating them and we can tell this by the way he is giving them dirty looks and revenge eating them). More stories for the grandchildren to tell.
So growing up, my lunch was awaiting me on the kitchen table as I flew by and grabbed it and ran outside to catch the school bus. Speaking of that bus, my great friend that lived all the way down the street at the end of the cul-de-sac we lived on was a beautiful, strong and athletic girl. (It feels very strange to leave out the Oxford Comma there, but I am trying it once just for the heck of it.) But, she would often miss the bus as it stopped at my end (the opposite end) of the street. Occasionally, she would come flying out of her house and sprint down the long street and the nice bus driver would always wait for her if one of us kids spotted my friend and alerted her before she took off again. You do know how many actual bus drivers would just pull away and not give a care, right? Like 150% of them, that's how many. But, this one had a sense of humor and she would often drive the bus for us athletes to our games in the evenings, so she knew us a little bit. Regarding my friend running to catch the bus, we kids would cheer for her to make it. But, sometimes, she wouldn't make it out the door in time. Or so we thought. There were several hilarious occasions where she would bang out of her front door just as the bus was pulling away and the bus driver had waited too long already, but we kids knew we were in for a real treat. My friend would just start booking it into 3rd gear. Meanwhile, we on the bus were turning left and then another left onto a street that was perpendicular to the one that my friend was running from. This was one time when we were glad the bus was a gas guzzling diesel and slow moving dinosaur. (I have no idea where the commas go there, Oxford or otherwise.) So still in the subdivision, we would all look to our left at the big hill.......and hope that my friend would soon be seen at the peak of it. And she often was! She had run up that hill and down the empty, rocky, bumpy clay lot on the other side ....... and all we kids would lose our minds and yell to the bus driver, "There she is! Stop! Stop!" And the bus driver always did. This was often the highlight of our bus riding week. The other times would be when that stupid emergency light and buzzer would go off for no reason at the back of the bus, but the law says the bus driver has to follow procedure so we kids would pile out the big back door. It was usually quickly resolved, door shut again, and we'd sadly load the bus again. But, even being 10 minutes late for school because it was the bus's fault was awesome. We would have given our lunch money to miss most of home room any day.
Back to my lunch ....... I would grab it on the way out of the house and stuff it in my gym bag and forget all about it until lunch time. It was embarrassing to even get it out of my locker. On the best days, it was in a brown paper bag, packed with 1 crunchy peanut butter sandwich (I preferred smooth), and some flavor of jelly I did not like, and a honey and oats granola bar, which I did like. On the worst of days, I'd have that same sandwich, but would get stuck with the leftover cinnamon granola bar which I hated, and I was happy that I got Doritos, but I was ashamed to bring them out of the bag and here is why: There were not all that many large chips left, but there were a bunch of little ones and crumbs, so my mom decided that instead of trying to dump them into a sandwich baggie, she would just take a pair of scissors to the family sized Doritos bag itself and cut it off 3/4 of the way down, fold it over once or twice, and attach a giant paper clip to keep it in place. Good Lord. I felt like an idiot. There were two other options that were worse. One was a variation of all the said items shoved into an empty transparent bread bag because we ran out of brown paper lunch bags. This thing could have been used as a weapon. It was the entire bread bag, no length cut off, my mom just tied it into a knot at the bottom but left a long "handle." I would swing that thing around like David getting ready to sling a stone at the Lunch Time Giant because everything was just smashed at the bottom. The second variation was of all those said items placed into a regular sized brown grocery sack that was ROLLED down near to the bottom and then the entire bag was secured with a big rubber band. It looked like Fred Flintstones's lunch. You can see why I tried to buy my lunch on most days, but all of these options were still better than hot turkey sandwiches smothered in yellow-green gravy day at school. Disgusting. No wonder why I can't "swallow." I just do now what I did back then -- open my mouth, close my eyes, eat the meat and pray for everything to taste good ..... just like I knew it would when we had Pizza Day.