A chat last night over dinner made me think about how much our parents want to give to us, but sometimes can’t.
This won’t be a sob story about being poor and what I didn’t get. Fact is, I remember my childhood with a relative amount of happiness, and I suppose whatever hardships my parents may have faced – were kept relatively out of view from us little kids. Of course, when we became adults, and going through our own struggles, my parents relayed their experience — opening my eyes to what I didn’t realize when I was still thinking Spaghetti O’s were fine cuisine. (For the record, I’d still eat them. So there.)
I have many good memories that occurred in those times where life may have been a little more difficult. My dad was a hard worker. He was a foreman in the foundation business. He always had a pick up truck and his igloo playmate cooler. My mom would pack him a lunch and some days I’d get little leftovers here and there when he had them. I remember how sun warmed cubes of cheddar cheese tasted – and I still love them. I remember the smell of his big puffy coat with his work insignia on it. It was mammoth back then when he’d throw it around my shoulders…and head, and legs and everything….it swallowed my 6 year old frame. Life was simpler back then.
On days that work ran short – perhaps because of rain or some other issue – he’d pick me up from my preschool class at Applewood or my elementary school and take me for a snow cone. I remember I got the same thing every time…"The Brown Cow"…it was a chocolate-y root beer combination with sweetened condensed milk poured over the top. Hot or cool weather, I remember with a full heart how wonderful that sweet treat was. On sunny days I’d sit on his metal toolbox in the bed while he ordered in spanish from the lady – who always gave me extra frosting on the top. I’d gobble it and stare at what would one day become my high school football field….sometimes the band was practicing…the elder alumni of friends I would be making from that very same band a decade later.
My dad has said later that he always regretted not being able to go to Disneyland. I don’t remember being 6 and thinking it was an option, or even wanting it. I wanted that snow cone. Or to watch the Rodeo parade in my dad’s work coat. I liked picking pecans on the country roads in old Alief. What it makes me focus on life now, is that there are a million options out there – happiness can be found in the simple as much as it can be found in the complex. Just enjoy it. Just live and find what makes you happy – and do it on purpose.
Of course, the snow cone station is long gone…and I’m grown up. So for old times sake…
Brown Cow Cocktail: Start with a cocktail shaker and fill it with ice. Add 2 oz of Dark Creme de Cacao. Fill it up with root beer and a good shot of whip cream.