Monday, December 31, 2007

Christmas Canoedling

Not since the jelly-candle-artificial-floral-arrangement fire of 1997 (which deserves its own entry) has a Christmas come so close to being ruined (or generated such indelible memories)…

We had just finished opening presents and eating Christmas rolls when my father-in-law remarked that if it were just a few degrees warmer (it was 40°F), we’d be canoeing. I knew exactly what this meant: in a few hours, we’d be canoeing.

It is speculated that Father-in-Law emerged from his mother’s womb in a canoe and has been paddling ever since: it’s in his blood. While canoeing is not exactly how yajeev’s family of origin would celebrate Christmas (we’d be more likely to go to a movie theater/theatre for a double feature than canoe down an ice-cold river on December 25), I’m a modern traditional pluralist: my way is not the only (or best) way—it is just one way. I’m open to all varieties of yuletide observances—even canoeing.

We (by we, I mean Father-in-Law, Sister-in-Law, Sister-in-Law’s [or is it Sister’s-in-Law] Boyfriend) loaded the boats into the truck. Mother-in-Law recommended that we pack life preservers. As there were only two life vests and four boaters, Father-in-Law decided that none should wear them (a good non(anti?)utilitarian ethic: if not the safety of everyone, then let the safety of none be ensured—if it were me, I might’ve drawn straws for the vests or cut them in half and split them evenly among the four of us).

We (here, by we, I mean Father-in-Law, Mother-in-Law, Sister-in-Law, Sister-in-Law’s Boyfriend, my wife, and myself) then piled into the truck and drove to a good launching spot. Sister-in-Law and Sister-in-Law’s Boyfriend carried their boat to water’s edge (theirs was a small, boxy boat with about eight inches of freeboard (height of boat wall not submerged by water). They boarded their watercraft and headed downstream. Father-in-Law and I got into our canoe and followed the others down the river. After their loved ones had safely (or so it seemed) embarked upon their aquatic Christmas pilgrimage, Mother-in-Law and Wife returned to the truck and drove downstream to meet us at the projected endpoint of our voyage.

Given that our canoe had a point at the tip and not a flat edge, it wasn’t long before our boat passed the other vessel. The typical routine quickly became as follows. Father-in-Law and I would naturally drift ahead of Sister-in-Law and her boyfriend, so we’d be the first to encounter each of a small litany of raging rapids. Father-in-law and I would investigate the trouble spots, determine a plan of attack, and navigate the frothy rapids. We’d then veer to the bank and wait just downstream of the turbulence for Sister-in-Law and Sister-in-Law’s Boyfriend to approach the given rapid to advise the duo with respect to the optimal strategy for each rocky, bubbly obstacle.

For the first three rapids, this worked just fine. The same cannot be said for the fourth rapid.

When Father-in-Law and I arrived at this particular juncture along the river, we appreciated that this would be the most challenging paddle in our journey so far. We paddled hard and headed straight into the mighty rushing mini-waterfall. Our canoe took a hard bounce against a crag protruding above the water level, sending Father-in-Law to the bottom of the boat (which, the astute reader will note, is far better than being sent out of the boat into water freshly cooled by melted snow). Our canoe turned and got caught on a rock hidden just below the surface. Ice-cold water ran over the edge of the boat and chilled our hands and feet. Vigorous bouncing and paddle maneuverations finally resulted in our liberation from the stony entrapment. Our canoe popped off of the rock, and we hurtled downstream. We flung ourselves toward the shore to wait patiently for Sister-in-Law and Sister-in-Law’s Boyfriend, whose blunt-fronted boat finally appeared as a pinpoint on the distant horizon. They gradually approached the hazard.

“What should we do!?” Sister-in-Law yelled down to us.

Our canoe was turned around and situated against the bank such that I in the front of our canoe and Father-in-Law behind me in the rear were both facing Sister-in-Law and Sister-in-Law’s-Boyfriend’s boat.

“What should we do!? she repeated.

At first I shrugged my shoulders, hoping that Father-in-Law would offer instruction. He did not, and Sister-in-Law once again reiterated her question: “What should we do!?”

Finally, I pointed with my paddle toward the portion of the waterfall down which we had just previously careered. What I hadn’t considered was perhaps (definitely) the most sensible option: advising them to steer their boat to a stretch of riverbank at which point the twosome could have disembarked, carried their boat on land beyond the treacherous rapids, and then re-embarked. This would have been a wise solution. I did not think of it (I’m no rocket scientist), Father-in-Law (judging by his non-response) also did not think of it, and Sister-in-Law and her boyfriend (who found themselves in the eye of the storm and at the worst vantage point to make such a determination) certainly did not think of it (or else this story would have had a much different, less bloggable ending).

Thus, their rectangular boat tentatively approached the recommended section of torrent and promptly found itself pinned by the rocks.

“Now what?!” Sister-in-Law yelled down to us.

I shrugged my shoulders exaggeratedly; I was out of answers. It was a cruel turn of events for Sister-in-Law and Sister-in-Law’s Boyfriend. They had been led into a tight spot by their trusted co-travelers. The bouncing and paddle maneuverations that had liberated Father-in-Law and me from the same tight spot did not prove similarly effectual for the occupants of the less hydrodyamic tub.

At first, I thought I heard laughter emerging from the square boat as it rattled and twisted, stuck among the rocks. The perceived laughter gradually gave way to screams. I initially believed these screams to be of the variety emitted from the mouths of pleasantly terrified roller-coaster riders. The more I listened and watched (I could barely make out facial expressions from our distance), I began to realize that these were not in fact shrieks of joy, but rather shrieks of dissatisfaction with one’s present situation (a present situation to which my poor guidance had significantly contributed).

After a terribly long period of screaming and failed bouncing, bumping, and grinding, the boat tipped forward and took on a lot of water. Sister-in-Law gracefully slipped out of the boat and found herself in freezing cold water at greater than waist-high depth. She, not sporting any life preservation device, slowly crept through the waterfall, first towards Father-in-Law and me, then turning toward the bank. She looked up at Father-in-Law and me, mostly dry in our canoe; her innocent facial expression revealed a sense of betrayal (how could we have led them into such calamity?). She inched toward the water’s edge, yelling, “Cold! Cold! Cold!”

Terrible visions of holiday tragedy flashed before my eyes as my sister-in-law fought the current. Sister-in-Law's Boyfriend struggled to right the ship, but his efforts were futile, and he too eventually opted to leave the boat to follow the ice-cold water trail blazed by his girlfriend moments earlier. Thanks to a heroic second effort by Sister-in-Law and her boyfriend, the abandoned boat, newly unencumbered by passengers, now easily wiggled free of the rocks that trapped it. The pair waded through the icy stream and clambered safely up the side of the riverbank toward higher ground.

As I watched this entire scene unfold, I fought a most inappropriate impulse: the urge to laugh. The prospect of Sister-in-Law or Sister-in-Law’s Boyfriend suffering hypothermia or lost toes or worse was not then and is not now the remotest bit funny, but in much the same way one might laugh impulsively and inappropriately as an ice-skating friend (or mother-in-law) crashes concussively to the ice, I could not help but laugh aloud. I vainly fought to suppress the chortles, but hysterics could not be contained.

Sister-in-Law shouted (between shivers): “What do we do now?!”

Father-in-Law advised her to walk the “short” distance to where my wife and mother-in-law would be waiting to retrieve us. The “short” distance ended up being about a half-mile of soaking wet misery. “Take off you pants,” Sister-in-Law’s Boyfriend advised her (he had already removed his soaking wet jeans and was marching along the riverside in his long-johns). She did not comply.

Father-in-Law and I paddled upstream to retrieve the vacant boat. Father-in-Law tied a rope to the empty boat, and we dragged it downstream, anticipating the horror of my wife and mother-in-law as only two of four un-life-vested paddlers would have completed the charted voyage. We ultimately reached the predetermined pick-up location, where Wife was waiting patiently for us. Mother-in-Law had already become (correctly) suspicious of our late arrival and commenced a search for her presumed missing family members. The sight of an empty boat was not a welcomed one.

Soaking wet, freezing cold, exhausted, and rightfully unhappy, Sister-in-Law and her boyfriend finally reached the planned reunion spot. We secured the canoes in the truck bed and packed ourselves into the truck. On the ride back to the house, I became acutely aware of the fact that my hands had gotten wet and were extremely cold. I bit my tongue, however, as I was able to appreciate how fortunate I was to have avoided total immersion.

My kinfolk spend holidays doing things like eating food, watching movies, opening presents, and eating food. My in-laws, on the other hand, spend holidays in an active attempt to “create memories.” My experience has been that many (if not most) of these memories created involve (extreme) canoe adventures.

So, thank you, in-laws for introducing new neural folds to my gray matter: this particular Christmas will never fade into the oblivion of merged memories of Christmases past. Like the Christmas influenza pandemic of 2003, Christmas 2007 will forever hold a special place in my heart. It will be perpetually remembered as the holiday that, due to my own failure to communicate effective advice, I nearly lost a sister-in-law and her boyfriend to the raging Indiana rapids and/or associated hypothermia.

(To Sister-in-Law and Sister-in-Law’s Boyfriend, my sincerest apologies for poor advice and for my most inopportune and inappropriate eruption of laughter.)

Monday, December 24, 2007

The pizzelles that almost were not

Saturday, I completed my quasi-annual holiday tradition: pizzelle making.

One of the very few items I personally selected on our wedding gift registry five and a half years ago (feels like it was just yesterday we were marching through the department store aiming the laser gun at items on our wish list) was a three-in-one sandwich/waffle/pizzelle maker. When I saw it, I knew that we had to have it. I couldn’t imagine married life without it.

How prescient I was. We’ve used each of the three functionalities, I’d say, on average 0.5 – 0.75 times per year. We’ve made waffles probably twice or thrice since we exchanged our vows… I’ve eaten maybe four sandwiches (toasted to perfection) grilled between the two hot metal bread-shaped molds (two were on Saturday) in the time spanning June 1, 2002 till now. But, most critically, during our first December of wedded bliss I decided that I would initiate an annual regimen of pizzelle making (the annualness not being strictly defined—prior to 2007, I have made pizzelles three of five Yuletide seasons).

You can imagine the horror, then, when in the course of refacing our kitchen cabinets, I heard my wife utter an “oops” (“oops”s in our relationship traditionally have emanated from my mouth, not hers) and I looked down to see the two halves of my pizzelle/ sandwich/ waffle/ book report maker resting on the floor in cracked outer casings and connected by a thin, exposed wire in the midst of the scattered contents formerly occupying our cabinet just beside our front window.

My disappointment was palpable. I mustered the most pitiful Eeyore response I could: “I guess I won’t be making my special Christmas pizzelles this year.”

My wife wanted to rectify her accident and buy me a new three-in-oner, but I told her it wasn’t worth the expense. Huddled masses of yearning family members would just have to make do with (my wife’s delicious) sugar cookies this year.

And then came my birthday, and what a happy one it was, for among the many lovely presents was one conspicuously large wrapped cuboid box which I eagerly unpackaged. The innards of said birthday present was none other than a replacement pizzelle/ waffle/ sandwich maker (thanks to the in-laws for that one—this blog post mightn’t have happened without them): crisis averted. Pizzelles a la yajeev would indeed come to pass to mark the birth of Christ Jesus.

This past Saturday was Christmas cookie day in the household of yajeev. The lovely wife prepared a multitude of sugar cookies of myriad shapes, colors, and sprinkle patterns and flavors, and I set about to prepare the pseudo-traditional pizzelles.

When I cook or bake or prepare food of any variety in the kitchen (which admittedly, happens, only slightly more frequently than my pizzelle making extravaganzas), the scientist in me requires a clear and detailed protocol. To be honest, the recipe I use from year-to-year varies; I will use whichever instructions are first listed after a google search for “pizzelle recipes”. So “yajeev’s pizzelles” do not necessarily match a particular protocol endorsed by yajeev, but rather are simply the pizzelles prepared by yajeev in strict accordance to a not entirely randomly procured internet pizzelle recipe protocol (I have to assume that the first listed recipe is so positioned for some good reason).

Saturday afternoon, I prepared my benchtop, er countertop, carefully placing each ingredient in the order it would be needed: three eggs, sugar, vanilla, lemon extract, flour, and baking powder (or was it soda?). Next, I turned on the holiday tunes (carefully avoiding Dominic the Donkey or Merry Christmas from the Chipmunks—these don’t go over so well with the little lady). Next, I arranged all the tools I’d be using: mixing bowl, measuring cups, measuring spoons… As I carefully lined each item up along the back wall, I asked my wife, “Honey, where’s the ¼-cup measuring cup?”

She, icing cookies, replied: “I don’t know.”

I: “What do you mean you don’t know? And where's the tablespoon measuring spoon?”

She: “I mean I don’t know where they are.”

I: “Well, they’ve got to be somewhere around here, right? Maybe in the dishwasher?”

They were not.

Improvise? Was she kidding? I have been trained to proceed with scientific accuracy, not senseless estimation. I mean, I don’t perform alkaline lysis bacterial plasmid mini preps with just any old pipette. I weighed my options. There was no time to go to the store: we were on a tight schedule. After cookie making, we had planned to wrap presents, eat dinner, and pack for our Christmas vacation: no time for frivolous measuring cup purchases. Make pizzelles with no regard for accuracy or no pizzelles at all. I chose the former, and with great trepidation, I christened the new pizzelle maker.

So how is this year’s batch? So far, they’re getting rave reviews from the dog (of course, he like poopsicles). The rest of the jury is still out.

(Eeyore picture accessed at wikipedia)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Album recommendation: Short Films on Self-Control

I just downloaded Short Films on Self-Control, the most recent release by Good Night, States (formerly Like Summer, and a few of them are formerly of the esteemed college rock band Throne Room Heroes). It’s a great listen.

I’m still waiting for them to cover Dominic the Donkey. I can't be totally satisfied with their collection until this happens. I know these guys are reading my blog (probably checking like fifty times a day), so I know it can't be long before my dream comes to fruition.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Who let the dog out?

Dear Land of Yajeev readers,

I found dad’s password under his pillow while I was waiting for him to come home. When I was just a puppy, mom and dad would turn the television on for me when they would leave for the day. I would listen to the happy voices of QVC and Home Shopping Network salespeople all day long. Mom and dad would often come home to find dog-friendly luxury items mysteriously left at our front door and the associated charges on the next month’s credit card bill: diamond-studded collars, gourmet milkbones, sterling silver food bowls with my name inscribed, and the like.

Now in an apparent effort to save energy and prevent my doggy brain from rotting, they no longer let me watch television all day long. Instead I’m supposed to amuse myself with squeaky toys (which are really only fun when shared), rawhide, and multiplication tables (mom says I’m gifted). But no matter what I set myself to doing, I always end up in the same condition: curled up asleep on dad’s pillow. I’ll start in on my rawhide bone, chewing and gnawing, but my eyes get heavy, and I know it’s futile to try to keep on keeping on, and before I know it, I’ve drifted off to doggy dreamland.

Then, every afternoon, I’m awakened by the most wonderful sound in the world: a key in the front door. It means my mom is home. I’m not sure where they go all day and why I can’t go with them, but when mom comes home, I know once again that all is right with the world. The front door opens, and I hear steps moving closer and closer to the bedroom in which I have been a (willing) captive. I crouch at the door, like a tightly compressed spring. The door opens, and I pounce with the energy I’ve stored all day long. Then I transition into what mom and dad call my daily spree, where I show off my special skills like speed, agility, waggingness, and personality, running up and down the stairs, circling the kitchen table at least five times, and jumping to mom’s nose level to give her special kisses (once I kissed her so hard, she grabbed her mouth and started crying—she muttered something about a chipped tooth, which I think was just a euphemism for the indescribable joy I provided her with my canine kiss).

Finally, I sprint to the door and muster all the self-control I have and sit like a good boy (though I can’t keep my tail from quivering) so she’ll put my leash on me and take me for a walk. Walks are awesome. If you’ve never been on one, you should really get your mom or dad to take you. First, you get to go to the bathroom. Like twenty times. Then, you get to see all of your friends. My best neighborhood friends are Sadie, Phoebe, Huckleberry, and Nick (Nick’s really cool—he has Christmas lights on his doghouse). After Sadie, Phoebe, Huckleberry, and Nick come Beau, Sandy (she barks at me, but I know it’s just cuz she likes me), and Leena. This time of the year is the best for walks (even though mom and dad complain about how messy it is outside). Why? you ask. One word: poopsicles. Little crunchy nuggets of frozen brown goodness the other dogs leave for me to enjoy. I try to leave my own (you know, to pay it forward), but mom and dad insist of picking mine up in little blue bags.

Well, blogosphere, that’s all for now, but if dad isn’t too mad after he finds this letter, I might be back soon. I think I hear a key in the door.


Watson Steve

Sunday, December 16, 2007

When Mice Go Caroling

Please click here to read a delightful holiday story written and illustrated by the elder offspring of Janet at Adventures in Ethics and Science.

I promise it's worth the click.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

One more holiday gift idea...

... for the wi-fi poacher in your life.

Give the gift of early detection. This wearable sixth sense will enable your loved one to instantly detect and quantify wireless internet signals.

As the official website advertises:

The glowing bars on the front of the shirt dynamically change as the surrounding wi-fi signal strength fluctuates. Finally you can get the attention you deserve as others bow to you as their reverential wi-fi god, while geeky chicks swoon at your presence.
Look how happy this guy is. He has a strong signal and knows it. At any moment, he can whip out his computer and begin surfing, emailing, and chatting without fear of disconnection.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Last minute gift ideas

I realize this is coming a tad late for those who are of the Jewish persuasion, as this is the seventh night of Chanukah, but I wanted to provide my readership with some creative holiday gift ideas for the special ones in your lives.

One Christmas, an in-law (who shall remain nameless) gave the gift of influenza to her husband and daughter, who then opted to spread the joy to her other daughter. I was the sole family member who wasn't a beneficiary of the contagion. I felt left out; I was relegated to watching The Matrix, Zoolander, and Christmas Vacation while the others laid in bed, moaning feebly, occasionally ingesting small amounts of Jello. I determined that I was excluded from sharing in the blight due to my lack of blood status. I don't hold it against them. I had only been a family member for a few short months. I'm sure if it happened again, they'd share the virus with me.

If you've always wanted to give your loved one influenza (or HIV or gonorrhea or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever) without the associated symptoms or stigma, today is your lucky day, for at your very fingertips, you have the opportunity to confer said maladies to your kith and kin without the icky rash. Consider bestowing BioBoxers gilded with the microorganisms closest to your heart to those on your holiday shopping list. Here's a staph infection to drape 'round their waists (keep away from open wounds).

If disease-laden underwear doesn't suit the personalities of those on your list, you can give some of these very same ailments in necktie form. For the Purdue alum in your life, why not give a Boilermaker black-and-gold West Nile Virus necktie (pictured at left)? Also available for the scruffs of those special someones are anthrax in black and red, chlamydia in burgundy and gray, and mad cow disease in a lovely burnt orange.

One final option for sharing diseases this winter are plush Giant Microbes. These lovely stuffed bugs provide a rare and cuddly glimpse of the friendly microorganisms at 1,000,000x magnification that afflict millions around the globe. I already own the non-pathogenic Saccharomyces cerevisiae (budding yeast), and you (or Santa Claus or Chanukah Harry) can transmit ebola virus, flesh-eating bacteria, or the black death (known in some circles as the plague) to family and friends. If you're giving a holiday present to that special someone this season, consider giving "Mono", the kissing disease (also known as the Epstein-Barr virus), shown here.

If diseases aren't your thing (or the things of your giftees), maybe gray matter is. What do you get for that thinker in your life who's always on the go? Give that walking brain a walking brain. Finally, a tangle of neurons to keep up with your favorite genius. For a video of the wind-up walking brain in action, click here. And the best part is that this mobile encephalon can be yours for less than the price of a triple Venti non-fat no-whip white chocolate peppermint mocha.

Finally, for the emasculated dogs in your lives, there are Neuticles (not pictured here). Nothing says "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Chanukah" to man's best neutered friend like implants, starting at a mere $73 a pair. The official website advertises a range of sizes; this is not a one-size-fits-all sort of product. The Neuticles website also sells a variety of merchandise that will please the whole family, including Neuticles t-shirts and hoodies, ball caps, aprons, bathrobes, beach towels, key chains, and necklaces... certainly enough paraphernalia for a themed holiday gift exchange. You can even buy an autographed copy of Going... Going... Nuts! The Story Had to Be Told... by Gregg Miller, the inventor and developer of Neuticles. (Under no circumstances should Neuticles be used in humans; the website makes this clear in the very fine print).

For the record, this is not a personal holiday wish-list. I am not trying to suggest (even subliminally) that my readers purchase these items for me (except for the walking brain).

To give credit where credit is due, I first learned about the microbe apparel here, walking brain here, and neuticles here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

There's no place like...

Our counselor has advised us to close our eyes and "go to our safe place" when we feel overwhelmed or stressed. She offered several suggestions for safe places we could visit, including sitting on the beach and working in the garden.

Mine is a Taco Bell. With an ample supply of quesadillas, crunchy tacos, chicken crunch wrap supremes, and taco sauce (the ones with the fun messages printed on them).

(image accessed at

Monday, December 3, 2007

Cashew later

I’ve been spilling a lot of beans on the family over the past several weeks. Tonight, I spill the nuts.

We were all so young. Little Bro was just 5. I was merely 9. Dad was only 45. A friend of Dad’s invited us to his Christmas party. Dad insisted that we be gracious guests and bring a present for the host. We had, in classic family-of-Yajeev fashion, been running severely late, so the present had to be a re-gifting. Dad frantically surveyed the house for a suitable token of appreciation for the kind invitation. Most of the hunt took place in the kitchen, enabling him to multitask; he could snack while searching. Finally, he spied an object that would satisfy both of his needs: a festive tin of mixed nuts already topped with a red Christmas bow. It had arrived in that day’s mail as a holiday present for our family.

“But, Daddy, that present is for us,” my brother pleaded, troubled by our father’s diversion of a gift meant to be consumed by our family.

“It’s okay,” Dad reasoned with Little Bro, removing the handwritten Christmas note from the original sender. “The person who gave it to us would want us to make someone else happy with these nuts,” he rationalized. I nodded, knowingly.

“No, Daddy, he wanted us to eat them.” Lil Bro felt a sharp pang of conscience, despite being allergic to nuts.

I don’t think it was to appease Little Bro’s pleading, but Dad decided that it would be appropriate if we ate just a few of the nuts. Dad hurriedly ushered us into the car. I sat in the front with Dad. Little Bro sat in the back holding the tin of cashews, walnuts, peanuts, and almonds. We had barely turned out of the driveway when Dad reached his arm behind his own seat, fumbling for the tub of nuts on Little Bro’s lap. “Honey, open the nuts.”

“But, Daddy…”

“It’s okay,” Dad repeated. “I just want two cashews.” Little Bro reluctantly snapped open the tin-o-nuts, and Dad groped air behind him with his right hand, erratically swerving the steering wheel with his left. Finally, his paw found the reservoir of protein-rich nutmeat. His hand swished through the nutty amalgam until he could retrieve the desired handful-sized quantity of cashews et al.

We had almost arrived at our friend’s house. “Just a few more nuts,” Dad said having finished his first fistful. He thrust his arm back into Little Bro’s personal space. Instead of finding his hand in an oasis of salty, dry proteinaceious goodness, his anatomical snuff box collided with the tin can, sending the mixture flying into the air. Nuts landed on the floor, on the seats, on Little Bro’s lap. Dad scooped a walnut off of Little Bro’s knee and popped it through his oral orifice.

Dad turned onto the street of the party and pulled the car to the side of the road. He jumped out of the car, and beckoned for me to do the same. “Quick, put the nuts back in the tub,” Dad instructed. The three of us engaged in a mad nut-scramble, picking almonds from the cracks between the seats and wiping hairs off of peanuts recovered from the floor before depositing them back into the decorative holiday tin. When all was said and done, with nuts lost to the hidden recesses of the car and of my father, we had filled the container to about two-thirds original capacity.

We piled back into the car, and Dad drove the rest of the way to the party. We were clearly the final guests to arrive. “I’m so glad you could make it,” the host greeted us, glancing at his watch. “Oh, you didn’t have to buy me a present,” he added, reaching for the tinseled tin.

“Actually, we didn’t buy—” Little Bro started before Dad put him in a playful faux headlock, effectively muffling the remainder of Little Bro’s sentence.

“Thanks for the nuts,” the host said, cracking the tin open and retrieving a few for a quick bite. “Delicious,” he uttered.

Little Bro couldn’t contain himself: “Those were the nuts we picked up off the floor of our car.”

Dad gently stepped on Little Bro’s foot. “No, those were the other nuts that we picked up off the floor. We threw those nuts—”*

“No, Daddy, those were the nuts that we got as a gift and that you spilled in the car when you were eating them. We picked them up off the floor and put them back into the container, Daddy. That container,” he concluded, pointing at the tin held by the host.

There was silence. Dad and the host stood in frozen smiles. I looked from face-to-face-to-face. I turned to Little Bro and warned him: “You are in so much trouble.”

* Please see footnote from previous post.