Tuesday, October 28, 2008
A PERSONAL HISTORY STORY--THE HERTZ DONUT: HOW TO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN THE FINE ART OF REVENGE
I had sent Kraut to the spooky basement in our Richfield house. He was trudging upstairs with the needed item for dinner when I got a brilliant idea. It was an old joke but I was pretty sure he hadn’t head it. He was the only one old enough to get the joke so I told The Brown Dot and Gilmore Girl, “Watch this.”
Kraut opened the ten-foot—or so it seemed—door and came into the kitchen trailing cobwebs—or so it seemed. The basement was a primitive place. The home was seventy years old then—it would be one hundred now and the basement seemed as old, and as spooky, as the tombs of Egypt.
“Hey,” I said. “How would you like a nice Hertz Donut?”
His eyes lit up. I could tell he thought it might have been a specialty pastry from Parson’s Bakery. He deserved a treat after going to the basement-of-dark-unmentionable-horrors.
“Uh huh,” he said, nodding and grinning.
I balled up my fist and punched him on the arm. “Hurt’s, don’t it? I said.”
The look on his little face! I regretted my actions immediately, The other kids thought it was hilarious and I encouraged him to laugh—after all, the advice my mother gave me most often was, “Learn to laugh at yourself, Lynne.” If I heard that once I heard it one thousand times. Thank you, Mother. I finally got the message.
Kraut did laugh. A little. And then he plotted his revenge. For years he plotted.
One day, when he was a teenager he came to me and said, “I’ll bet I can pull a hair out of your head and you won’t even feel it.”
No way. I have a tender head. I feel any little tug of a hair. Of course he planned his demonstration when everyone was in attendance: The Brown Dot, Gilmore Girl and there was a new audience member, Lord Bumhampton.
Kraut carefully picked out his favorite hair and just as he yanked he hit me on the other side of the head with his other hand. He was right. I didn’t feel the hair being pulled out. I may have seen stars.
“See?” he said. Of course I couldn’t hear him over the hysteria of the other three children and had to lip read. And then I couldn’t help it. I exploded with laughter.
He plotted for years and he was a success. We ought to keep this going, don’t you think? So, I’ve been plotting re-revenge for years, too. It’s almost time.
PS Twice, or maybe even three times I have taken a dozen of the best donuts I could find to Kraut as an apology. He looks at them with lowered eyelids. Can we say, "It's all right, Mom. It was a pretty good joke." After all, it's not brain surgery—which I may need someday from the whack on the side of the head. What sort of apology do you suppose I'll get?
I like "cream filled" and "lemon," Kraut.
PPS Kids, do you remember those "Alligators" from Parson's Bakery? They may have single-handedly been responsible for Gilmore Girl's romance with frosting.