The Last Laugh

by Laurie Bosley, 2003 copyright. All rights reserved.

As you have seen by now, my parents put a whole new spin on the saying, “opposites attract.” Our dad is the calmer of the two parents. He rarely gets mad, loves to laugh and joke with us, likes routine, and is very laid back. In fact, he is so laid back that he actually drives well below the speed limit. Dad is a man who lives life one day at a time. He is the person who brings a calmness – a peacefulness – to our family.

Our mom, on the other hand, is full of energy. She talks all the time and has never met a stranger. She is very emotional, likes to try new things, is ambitious, and as you very well know, drives well above the speed limit. Mom is the one who brings a sense of adventure and creativity to our family.

Unfortunately for us, her creativity would also show up in the kitchen. While mom and Esther liked to try new foods, dad and I liked the basics. Aaron and Rachel’s tastes varied depending on the meal. Mom was big on making casseroles; the more ingredients the better. I liked my food to be separated on my plate, not touching if at all possible. Stuffed green peppers and green bean casserole were two of mom’s specialties. Just thinking about all of those foods mixed together would make my stomach cry out in protest.

As we sat down to eat one evening, my mom started to dish out our meal. On this night, everything was coming out of separate pots and I thought to myself, “So far, so good.” Mom gave us each a generous serving of carrots, rice, and a white meat that looked like little pieces of chicken.

As we bowed our heads and dad prayed, I kept one eye open looking at the tiny meat pieces on my plate. Something seemed a little off. Esther, Aaron and Rachel opened their eyes and studied their plates as well. Not dad, he dug in. He was so busy eating that he didn’t notice that most of the table was not enjoying their evening meal.

Finally, Esther asked, “What meat is this?” Mom kept her head lowered and replied, “Why do you ask?” Esther tried again, “Is it chicken?” Mom evasively continued, “Have you tried it yet?” We all answered simply, “No, not yet.” She said, “Well, then try it.” Dad continued to sit there oblivious to the conversation going on around him. As he inhaled the plate of food in front of him, we all looked at each other and asked once more, “What is this?” When mom fell silent, even our dad raised his head from his half finished plate. With his fork in mid-air he asked, “It is chicken, right Carolyn?”

Unable to hold off answering any longer, my mom finally said, “It’s frog legs.” She hurriedly explained that they tasted a lot like chicken and that we would like them if we tried them. I think our stunned faces said it all. As she looked at us, she knew that getting us to even try one bite would be an uphill battle.

With this news, my dad’s fork fell out of his hand and hit his plate. He pushed his seat back, went to the cabinet and got out the old tried and true – PB & J. We always kept a 5 pound bucket of it handy. It was a staple in our household. Watching my dad, mom said, “Really John, you were eating the meat just fine until a minute ago.” While applying a thick layer of peanut butter to the bread he replied, “That was before I knew I was eating a frog. Frogs hop around outside and eat flies. They are not supposed to be eaten!”

Mom tried to tell him that frog legs are considered a delicacy in some countries. Plus, they are low in fat. He would hear none of it. To tell you the truth, now as I sat there all I could do was picture an old warty frog sitting on a lily pad eating flies. Gross! With this image, the meal in front of me suddenly didn’t seem the least bit tempting any more. Shaking our heads, we all pushed our plates away from us and went to join dad at the kitchen counter.

The following evening we all sat down to a delightful supper. Mom had made a big pot of chicken noodle soup with biscuits. As she served us each a hearty bowl of homemade soup, none of us noticed how she kept biting her bottom lip to keep from smiling. We all eagerly ate our fill. Never once did we suspect that tonight our mom was the one having the last laugh. Ribbit!