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Trailblazing Cousin Earns Just Desserts
Somewhere around here is a coffee cup bearing the slogan, “Life’s Short. Eat Dessert First.” It was given to me when … well, I can’t remember when. All I can say is that it was when that saying was (a.) New and (b.) Thought To Be Amusing. In other words, quite a while ago.
Back then, we were all struck by the Universal Truth of the message. Life IS short. You could have an aneurism right in the middle of lunch and find yourself face down in the lima beans, and then you wouldn’t get that slice of Boston cream pie you were thinking of ordering. Do you really want your last earthly food to be lima beans when it could have been Boston cream pie?
But then the Slogan People came up with another Universal Truth and we were all struck by that one, too, so the “Life Is Short. Eat Dessert First” cups went to attics and garage sales in order to make room for the cups that said “Have A Nice Day.”
Well, since I’ve never had a garage sale I’m pretty sure my old coffee cup is in my attic, gathering dust with the old skates and National Geographics. And I need to find it so I can send it to my cousin Nate.
Last Saturday, at the family reunion, Nate ate dessert first. And here’s the astonishing part: He’s the first person in the family ever to do that at the reunion.
You might remember Nate. He’s the older cousin who sort of took me under his wing when I was a semi-lost kid. He taught me to drive, to fish and to hunt. He also taught me about girls, although when I tried to apply this knowledge a few years later, I discovered that as a romantic advisor, Nate made an excellent driving, fishing and hunting teacher.
OK, back to the reunion: As big as our family is (I have 50 first cousins) and as many reunions as we’ve had (innumerable) and as much as we all love dessert (off the chart), you’d think SOMEONE would have done eaten dessert first before now, but no. Nate blazed the trail.
I think his reasoning had less to do with life being short, however, and more to do with the fact that he was way back in the food line, and it wasn’t moving very fast because people ahead of him were taking their sweet time picking over the main dishes and salads, and he was hungry.
Also, it gave Nate a clear shot at all the desserts before they got scarfed up. You know how it is. You make your way past the fried chicken and the peas-and-cheese salad to get some dessert, only to find the locusts have gotten there ahead of you, and so you find yourself scraping raspberry pie remnants out of a collapsing foil pan.
Of course, all the old lady aunts (including my mother and for that matter, his) gave Nate some good-natured grief about it, but he was holding the trump card: He knew he was only doing something they had all wanted to do at one time or another.
So I have to give my cup to Nate, my boyhood hero and mentor (except for the stuff about girls). He lived the slogan. He ate dessert first.
And then he had a nice day.
© 2007 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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