“Don’t tell your mother,” he’d say, sneaking it to you on the backhand no matter who your mother was, and even if there was no need to sneak it– just because it seemed to be more fun that way.
The exuberant joys of his own childhood are what carried him through a more cloudy adulthood. The memories would come alive in those wide-eyed gaping smiles that were smeared with drippy vanilla or glossy with dreams of what “a green dollar!” could bring on the next visit to B-kwik or Wilson Farms.
Some of the same clouds that hung over my ol’man’s days now hang over mine, too… but in two different ways I’m double blessed for his example.
I have those chest swelling memories of my own rogue ice creams, packs of Luden’s Cherry cough drops, cans of diet Squirt, packs of M&Ms from the tiny stands inside big downtown buildings, and Birch Beers sitting at anyone of a dozen different bars.
All those memories are great, but even better, dad showed me the best way to recapture that joy is to light it in another life, and that might be the best gift of all.
So com’ere buddy… take this 20 and don’t tell your mom. Just use it for something good.