Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Treats for 20 tomorrow? Coming from me?

When I was in school, I was the queen of the last-minute request. I thought nothing of casually telling my mom before bedtime I needed two dozen brownies for the class, or that I was pretty sure my sugar cube igloo was due the next day.

Her surprised exasperation always puzzled me. I mean, we usually had hours to pull a rabbit out of the hat. What was the big deal? Of course, there was that one time that I completely forgot about our social studies assignment, the one where we were supposed to bring some type of food from a family recipe.

I knew it was a big assignment. But I'd remembered in plenty of time - the day before.

"I don't cook," my mom told me flatly. "Never have."

"Well, what about grandma?" I asked.

"Why do you think I don't cook?" she answered.

We ended up bringing a delightful butter cake from my German Aunt Lee ... um, that would be Aunt Sara Lee, just between you and me. My mother and I, partners in crime, placed it on a plate, garnished it and made up some story about how the recipe had been passed down from my German great aunt or some such awful tale.

My teacher ate it, but I don't think she bought it. She asked me far more questions than she did the other kids. And I had a clean plate, but not a terribly clean conscience.

It was at that point I started realizing that those last-minute requests can be a real pain. And now, in a fitting twist of fate, I have to teach that lesson to my son. It's apparently an inherited trait.

Walking out the door to school today, he tells me, somewhat accusingly, "We forgot my black folder yesterday, you know."

I was startled. "What folder?" He looked impatient. "For Mrs Harrigan." He walked out the door to the driveway. I ran to catch up. "Who's Mrs. Harrigan?"

He let out his breath, exasperated. "She keeps my books!"

His bookie? What the ...? For the record, I knew nothing of a black folder, Mrs. Harrigan or any books. I found out later she was a reading teacher, the folder was buried in a living room chair, and these were special books we were to have been reading together throughout the week. Good to know, son.

The trend continued later into the night after catechism class. When I picked him up, he showed me his latest project "By the way," he said. "We were supposed to bring back our green folder."

"Green folder?" I said, feeling an uneasy twinge of deja vu.

"The one in the car," he prompted, running ahead of me. Just for the record, I knew nothing of any green folder, and ... well, you know the rest. Yeah. It was crammed under the bench seat in the back of the mini-van. Good to know, son.

I have a bad feeling this is just the beginning of some fine last-minute scrambling, courtesy of my boy. Maybe my Great Aunt Lee will even make it back for a visit. Oh well. I hope she brings that cake.

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