Thirty plus years ago, Mom and Dad hauled the family out to Yellowstone for an unforgettable summer vacation. The natural phenomena were stunning, remaining vivid, crystal images, still in the mind. We have so many great stories from that summer: The bear mom spotted in the creek that turned out to be a rock, the morning we started out the door of the cabin we were renting to drink our morning coffee – greeted by the massive head of a bison: We retreated.
But the weirdest memory of all, relates to the functional incapacity of my brain: At the Old Faithful gift shop, Mom offered to buy us a memento. Of everything available to keep for the memories of the place – I chose a bag of rocks.
Our Granddad was a collector of agates, thunder eggs and other such shiny, eye-catching things. (Not leaverites: Sometimes you see a stone sort of buried in the sand that looks like it might be interesting, but when you pick it up, it’s just a sedimentary sort – so you leaver ‘er right where you found her! Grandad joke!) Withal, it wasn’t out of character for any of us youngsters to have an eye out for shiny stones. However, as a souvenir from Yellowstone… Not the most salient selection.
I’m sure Mom questioned it, but being the little piss I was, I imagine she pinched her lips tightly closed and shook her head, acquiesced to silence the whining.
Somehow, a rock or two ended up in my mouth. Surprisingly they tasted sweet. Disappointment hung heavy: That mighty haul of shiny stones was nothing more than candy – two-thirds of it was consumed before Mom questioned what the hell I was doing, in that, “I can’t believe I gave birth to such an idiot,” way that she does.
Through, streams of drool and cheeks stuffed with gummy stones, I explained, “It’s candy.” By then, the idea of candy that looked like stones seemed like the most amazing thing that could ever happen, and I gloated to my sisters – was admonished to stop eating it: It was gone by that evening, leaving nothing for a memento but empty wrappers and a sour stomach.
That silly episode came back to mind, last night, as my amazing wife presented the gorgeous confection, above, that a while back I noted was the coolest looking thing I’d ever seen, and wanted for my birthday. We marveled that they even put some little stones atop, and again, it never even crossed my mind they could be eaten…
It was a little more frosting than a normal person could consume, though light and fluffy, and the cake was outstanding.