Pepperidge Farm Golfish Mac and Cheese, Hold the Popcorn

My brother Juan called me the other day. I was floating my sore back in the pool. His first words were, now I know why you're crazy. Oh, boy. Here we go. So I roll my eyes and get comfy.

I lay back and wait for it. He's about to tell me a story. When we were kids and my mom's brother Tank would call, she would snap her fingers at us and sign for us to go get her cigarettes. We always knew that meant it was Uncle Tank on the phone and that she'd be on for a while. Juan and Uncle Tank have a lot in common.

There I am. Floating. Waiting to hear what I did. My mind was scrambling to see if I was actually guilty of anything in particular. Nothing came to me. So he starts by telling me he just got back from having lunch with Aunt Batsy. I knew this was going to be a doozie. And I also knew how this story would end. Because it always ends the same.

He starts talking. We're about seven minutes in, when the story actually begins. At least I think it does. You can never be too sure. Juan is what you might call long-winded. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, Google defines it as, continuing at length in a tedious way.  I'll go ahead and add a very to that definition.

He's telling me how they are dining at Huck Finn, naturally. And at some point I recognize a name that isn't registering in my head with this story. I have to start actually listening. Then I say, wait a minute, did you just say Molleen was with you? Why in God's name was Molleen with you? As a rule, we normally like to limit our spouses' "Aunt Batsy Time" to the bare minimum, out of respect for our marriages.

Juan's wife, Molleen, is thirty-nine weeks pregnant. She's desperate. We've all been there. You need that baby out and are willing to do anything to get that party started. Well, almost anything. I've actually never gone to this length before, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Seems Juan and Mol read my blog. Mol thought maybe a trip to the dollar store and lunch with Aunt Batsy would be just the right amount of stress she needed to activate labor. It should be the right amount of stress to have you deliver right there in the store. But it wasn't meant to be, because Juan is still telling the story.

He tells me how they all go to lunch and how the kids are wild and blah, blah, blah. I know, I do it all the time. Although, I usually do the store and then the restaurant. Not them. They switched things up. The only problem with that is when Aunt Batsy orders the liver and onions to go. Seems her neighbor was sick. Who wouldn't perk back up after some liver and onions?

Now they have an order of liver and onions in their car. They still have to hit up the Dollar Store. So the liver and onions will stay in said car, in the boiling August heat. Rookie mistake.

They go to the Dollar Store and she lets the kids run wild and buys them everything in sight. As per usual. Just hearing the story was enough to put me in labor and I'm not pregnant. They make their final purchases and off they go. They may have dropped Aunt Batsy off at home, but the smell of liver and onions will stay with them forever.

No matter how hard I try, she always gets that check before I do.

No matter how hard I try, she always gets that check before I do.

Today is Tuesday and that is the day I go to Aunt Batsy's to fill her pill box for the week. I'm the only one that sort of knows what pills are actually supposed to go in it. But she likes to change things up every week or so. I tried writing it out so someone else could do it, in the event of my death. But you never know for sure what she won't feel like taking that week.

Anyway, she asks if my kids like popcorn. I said yes, they love popcorn. She said, oh great, I have some for you to take home. I went to the dollar store (see above story) and I thought I was buying crackers, but it turns out it was popcorn kernels.

Huh?

Yeah popcorn kernels. I'm sitting there watching the news the other night and I open the box of crackers and I almost choked. It wasn't crackers at all, it was popcorn kernels. My dentures almost flew right out of my head.

By this point I am so confused by this story that I'm not sure what my next move is. I said, well let me see what you're talking about. I'm picturing a bag of microwave popcorn that she tried to eat raw? But that's not the case at all. It turns out it's a box of macaroni and cheese shaped as Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers.

In her defense, it does look like a box of crackers.

In her defense, it does look like a box of crackers.

After I recompose myself, I try telling her it's mac and cheese. She says, no it's popcorn. I tried to eat it. I said, no, it's dry macaroni. See, it says right here on the box. Mac. And. Freaking. Cheese.

Well what are you supposed to do with that? You boil it. You add the cheese. You eat it. I wasn't getting very far. She tries to get me to take it home for my kids. I try explaining to her that my kids don't like that kind. They will only eat the blue mac and cheese and they can smell an imitation a mile away. They can't be fooled.

Long story longer, in honor of Juan, I end up taking home the three boxes. They're in my cabinet because I feel guilty throwing away perfectly fine food. Well, one box has a few macaronis missing, but close enough. So they will sit in my cabinet until the next food drive or until I get so sick of looking at them I finally throw them away.

One thing is for sure. I will never see a box of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers again without thinking of Aunt Batsy. And I will undoubtedly laugh. Every time.

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