Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lesson Learned... a stroll down memory lane.

I have always loved chocolate though it was not until I was an adult that I learned to appreciate the finer qualities of dark chocolate. So it was that at the ripe old age of seven I was fully in love with milk chocolate and happy to consume it in whatever form it appeared in. And it just so happened that there was usually a bag or two of chocolate chips hidden in one of the kitchen cupboards, waiting for baking day.

I am ashamed to admit that it was not beyond me to sometimes slide a chair across the shiny kitchen floor, clamber up on it and rustle a small fistful of chocolate chips that I would smuggle into my room. There I would savour the tiny morsels of chocolate one at a time while I read. It is hard to say what I loved more those days, the taste of chocolate or reading. I still find today that the two go well together.

Apparently I was a very stealthy thief as I do not recall ever being caught, but I came very close to it one night when I hit upon, what seemed to me a most ingenious plan. It was choir practice that night and I thought being able to nibble on a piece of chocolate throughout practice would be just divine. "Icing on the cake" so to speak as I especially enjoyed gathering with my friends in the church to practice singing.

With my usual covertness, I clambered up into the cupboards and filled a sheet of paper towel with more than my usual bounty of chocolate chips. After all I might be called upon to share these luscious treats with the singers to my left and right. Then I was faced with a problem - how to get my larger than normal treat into my bedroom where I needed to dress for practice. I solved the problem quickly by wrapping the chocolate chips up tight and placing the paper package beneath my undershirt. I padded quietly to my bedroom and got changed for the evenings activities.

Once dressed in good clothes, I headed to the hallway where my father was patiently waiting for me to prepare for the cold drive to the church. On went my skidoo pants, followed by my parka, hat, scarf, mitts and finally snow boots. As far north as we lived one did not venture out with any less than that on - at my age at any rate. Sufficiently wrapped up, my dad and I got into the car and left for practice. I jumped out as we stopped in front of the church door and I carelessly waved good bye before dashing up the stairs and into the church without even taking time to enjoy the smoke curling out of my mouth into the cold icy air.

Most of the choir was already there and the pile of boots by the door was growing quickly as we peeled off our winter wear. Like the rest of the students, I left on my bibbed snow pants and quietly followed the Choir Mistress down to the front of the church. Somehow Miss Johnson managed to get us all quiet and arranged in the pews, more by age than by ability I think. The books were pulled out of the shelves and the correct page found with much rustling. We giggled and teased each other through the hour long practice, severely testing Miss Johnson's patience, I am sure! The hour in the warm, cozy church passed by all too quickly and before we knew it - it was time to envelop ourselves once more within our jackets, scarves and mitts. We had all already saved a step by keeping our snow pants on. The drive was quickly filling up with cars as parents slowly eased up by the steps to pick up their young, lively cargo. I was keen to get outside and hopefully a few snow balls thrown with everyone else, before my dad's car was next to pull up. All too soon it was my turn to crawl into the front passenger side of a car and share with my father the details of practice. What songs had we covered, who sang best, had I had fun. I pulled one of my mittens off and blew on the window so as to try and compete with Jack Frost by creating elegant designs on the window. As I pulled a quickly chilled fingertip across the icy glass, I suddenly remembered my ill gotten treat safely tucked beneath my undershirt. I grinned in the dark thinking of the delicious treat I would now have all to myself over the next few days. With having forgotten my larger than usual spoils, I would not have to risk pilfering through the kitchen cupboards for several days. Now I was more than anxious to be home and was quick to retreat to my bedroom once we had left the cold frosty car behind.

I quickly undressed and tossed my clothes into a pile. Once I got to my undershirt I tugged on the white bit of paper towel peeping out. It did not slide out as quickly as it had slid in. In fact, it seemed stuck. I tugged harder and finally a very dark piece of paper slid out of my shirt. Smeared on the inside of my undershirt were streaks of brown that were quick to attach to the streaks of brown slathered on my chest. Horrified, it dawned on me what had happened but what was not so quick to come to mind was the solution. What to do with this incriminating evidence - the chocolate streaked undershirt? A facecloth was easily going to erase the evidence smeared on my body, but the undershirt? It posed a larger problem. The solution I came to was to simply dispose of it in the garbage. For some reason I chose the bathroom garbage can and given it smallness in size - I still wonder to this day how my mother never discovered the shirt. Or did she?

Lesson learned - never hide chocolate chips inside your undershirt!

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