2003.12.10 The lonely only child can't cope with ketchup

Written by David Green.

By COLLEEN LEDDY

My youngest child is soon going to become an only child. Her sister reminded her of that fact on the way home from our quick trip to New York City for Thanksgiving. Maddy, who will be 15 next Monday (see page 15), wanted to kill time humanely by playing that common car game, “I’m Going on Vacation.” David and I are not really fans of the game, but we reluctantly agreed to play.

Maddy wanted her siblings to join in, but both Rosie, 17, and Ben, 21, refused. Who can blame them? Although it’s great for sharpening memory skills, the game is inane and just drones on.

You know it, don’t you? One player starts with the first letter of the alphabet saying, “I’m going on vacation and I’m going to bring an airplane,” and the succeeding players repeat that and add a word beginning with the next letter of the alphabet. On and on through chiggers and the runs (David’s contribution for “C” and “R”), all the way to zircon.

Maddy begged, but Ben and Rosie refused to budge.

“This is what it will be like next year when Ben and I are both gone,” Rosie told her. “You have to get used to it being just you, Mom and Dad.”

Now, Rosie won’t be leaving the nest until next fall, but she’s mentally preparing Maddy for her exodus.

When Maddy asks for help with geometry or biology, Rosie reminds her that next year she won’t be available for tutoring. “You have to do it on your own,” she tells her. It’s tough love and Rosie is wise to be starting early in the separation process.

Maddy is catching on. “I’m going to need all new clothes when Rosie goes to college,” she says.

The two of them share just about their entire wardrobe so it will be split in half—unless, I suppose, Rosie chooses to go to college in California, and leaves Maddy with all the winter clothes and then comes back in late spring with all the warm weather clothes.

The two are very good friends and I wonder what life will be like with an only child. Maddy’s idiosyncrasies are buffered by Rosie’s eternal good humor. Rosie often serves as the family peace maker—with her gone, what will happen when we encounter Maddyisms that try the patience of Job? Rosie won’t be there laughing at the absurdity, making light of the situation. Here’s an example of Life with Maddy.

She and I were sharing a plate of French fries at a restaurant on this same trip home from N.Y.C. I withdrew a ketchup-coated fry as she swooped in for a naked one on the plate. Time stood still as Maddy realized ketchup from my fry swiped her sweatshirt sleeve. The bright red blotch on her new white sweatshirt was quite obvious, but I discounted the immensity of the stain—a calamity in her mind.

“You don’t understand,” she said. “It’s ketchup!”

“I understand,” I said, in a it’s-not-a-big-deal tone of voice. “It’s ketchup.”

“You don’t understand,” she repeated. “It’s me and ketchup.”

Ah, Maddy and ketchup. Ketchup is one of those disgusting foods in Maddy’s mind. Some might call her a picky eater, others might identify with her discerning palate.

Of course, this is not a matter of ingesting food; this is a matter of not allowing gross food to come close to her body, especially her eyes, nose and mouth.

This ketchup exchange gives me hope, though. She finally seems to be realizing that perhaps she goes a bit overboard with her dislikes, and at the same time, recognizes that ketchup intolerance is a quirk of hers.

It’s refreshing, really. The revulsion is still there, but there’s an awakening that it’s not so much that ketchup is an evil substance, but that she can’t tolerate ketchup.

Still, of this you can be sure: when it’s her turn to bring something with the letter, “K,” it certainly won’t be ketchup.

    – Dec. 10, 2003 
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016