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Honey Mustard

We were going down the road eating fast food, traveling from a tennis match to a volleyball game. The two venues were about 30 miles apart, so we were doing what grandparents and parents do in this part of the world – trying not to decide which kid would be most hurt by no one coming to cheer for them.

The timing was going to be close, but it looked like we could pull off a two event/two town day. Unfortunately, that was possible only if we ate some marginally disgusting food.

I glanced at my wife and asked, “How’s that honey mustard sauce?”

She said, “Pretty good. Would you like to taste it?”

I said, “No. I like this shirt and I can’t afford a new one.”

I’m sure there are people who can drive down the road eating drippy food without spilling all over themselves. There are also people who understand the government and folks who don’t like ice cream. Those people baffle me as well.

Here’s the problem. The only time I eat fast food is when I’m in a vehicle and what I look for in general is sauce-less food, because I can’t keep buying new shirts.

That means I eat my fries without ketchup and when I look at the giant menu in the drive through, I usually mentally cross off anything on the list that looks good.

I first learned that lesson many years ago. Back around the dawn of time, when my beard was red and my hopes were high, I was returning from delivering hogs and needed a bite to eat. Since I was, you know, a hog farmer who'd been rassling hogs all day, dining in a restaurant wasn't an option.

Trust me. It wasn't.

I looked ahead and saw my first-ever Subway franchise. It had a drive through and no line, so I pulled in and ordered a foot-long meatball sub.

Hey, don't judge.

About two miles down the road, I realized they'd forgotten to give me napkins. A rational person would have looked at the red sauce leaking through the bag and decided to reheat the whole mess when he got home where he had access to paper towels and perhaps a bib.

Not me, baby. I came to play.

I took about three bites, looked down, and re-set the cruise control to three miles UNDER the speed limit. If I'd been pulled over by the highway patrol, I would have been in handcuffs in seconds and an alert would have been executed to watch for cannibals, ax murderers, or escaped Neanderthals.

Luckily no one was home when I arrived. I threw my clothes in the washer, took a shower, and carefully combed the meatball lumps and other debris out of my beard.

This all happened a long time ago. With my usual determination to not learn from experience, I haven’t ordered any more meatball subs, but I have ruined many, many shirts with various combinations of grease and oils. Sometimes I tuck a napkin into my collar when I’m alone, but that just moves the potential stain from my chest to my stomach. I'd need a napkin about 2 x 3 feet or else a bath towel to feel safe.

Oh, well. We made it to the volleyball game on time and my clothes were still presentable, so I'm calling it a win.

But someday, some bright sunny day in the future, I’d like to know the taste of honey mustard.

Copyright 2023 Brent Olson


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