Food is among the great causes of Sibling Warfare. Not all food, of course: There were no fights among my brothers and me about who, say, would get the extra lima beans, which, in youth, I always consumed like thick green pills, washing them down whole with my milk. (Adulthood is so much easier: I never eat lima beans now and probably won't, until I have to go to The Home, at which time I'll return to my boyhood style in more ways than one.)
My brothers (one is three years older, the other four years younger) and I did have issues about a number of other food items--mostly, as you can probably guess, involving Sugar. Mom tried to hide the Oreos in the house (we always found them), and one of our Sibling Rules seemed to be: Whoever finds them gets most of them. But Richard (older) always played the Seniority Card--often in these words (I'm quoting): My body, being a bigger machine, therefore needs more fuel. Of course, the physics of this is wrong, but who knew in 1958? (And I've used the line myself.)
The other issue was the contents of those tubes of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls (about which I've blogged before, I believe). The problem: There were (are?) eight rolls in the tube. Three (brothers) into eight (rolls) don't go. Somebody got two while the others got three. It was almost always little Davi who got the two, even when he baked the rolls, a situation that did not please him--and even now, sixty years later, can cause some bitter words (which I love).
Dad, of course, was the Ultimate Consumer in our house. He would get the most of anything he wanted, and there was no Court of Appeals. He was the Supreme Court. So ... when we had pancakes, Dad got most. Ice cream--Dad got the biggest dish. Pie--don't even think about it. Dad remained a Pie Freak his entire life. If I've told this story before, I'm going to tell it again, a story about when Dad was in his final days in 1999.
Here's what I wrote in my journal on Oct. 20, 1999; I'd just returned from western Massachusetts, where my parents were living. My dad had about six weeks to live; my younger brother, Dave, called to tell me the story ... Dad was in the hospital ...
About noon, Dave thought Dad was dying (he was apparently slipping away), so he began reciting to him the 23rd Psalm, tears running down his face. Then the nurse came in with his lunch and said, “Hi, Ed, I’ve got pie for you today!” And Dad perked right up, ate all the pie, and was fairly coherent the rest of the day.
Later, a husband, I had to be careful about getting food I wanted from Joyce's plate. I learned very very early in our marriage that it was a grievous mistake just to snatch something from her. And so it remains. (I'll come back to this.)
When our son was born in 1972, I initially, of course, wanted none of his food (Gerber's! No thanks!), but, later, I began transforming into my father in a way. Steve's food was my food. Simple. (I paid for it, damnit!) In some ways, there was no problem. He didn't like pizza crusts; I did; I ate them with impunity.
Early in his Halloween days, though, there was an issue. We didn't want him to Pig Out on all his candy, so we kept it in a drawer, dispensing some to him every day. But when he was a wee lad, he didn't really remember what was in that drawer. So ... we (yes, we, Joyce!) would sometimes (often) take from that drawer the candy we really liked. Dan: Snickers; Joyce: Reese's Cups. Later, Steve's memory improved, and our petty thefts were ... noticed.
Now, back to that stealing-from-Joyce's-plate business. She is actually pretty good about sharing. When we used to go all the time to Stoddard's (frozen custard), she would usually (not always) save for me the final bite or two of her cone.
Popcorn-at-the-movies is a separate issue that I'd better not get into. (I do want to remain married.)
But the other day (here we go) we were eating supper in front of some show we'd DVRed. She had brought to the little table we use some crackers. (I am a Cracker Fanatic and if I eat but one, I will generally eat the entire package. This goes back to boyhood when Dave and I would each eat a stack of saltines while watching late-night TV.)
So .. the crackers are lying there on her plate. Waiting. Joyce goes in to get something to drink. When she comes back with it, she notices some crackers are AWOL.
Let's just say there is an ensuing ... conversation ...