Dear Chipotle

My dearest Chipotle,

Though it pains me to say, it has come to my attention that you are incapable of serving sour cream as a topping o'er your delicious “Mexican” cuisine.

No matter how well I articulate my lunch order, asking for “just a little bit,” “tiny bit” or “barely a drop” of sour cream on my tacos, you ignore my request and choose to aggressively smoother my food in an entire ladle full of the stuff.

Today I was forced to perform surgery on my tacos, scooping soggy blobs of ivory death onto a drink lid just to avoid soaking through the mountain of napkins I had grabbed after paying for my white-washed (cough - 8 dollar) order.

image1 (2).JPG

Too many times have I stood in horror as I watch a rushing cascade of cream drown my perfectly curated creation. Lettuce wilts in fear, chicken sinks in despair, and soft corn tortillas struggle to survive such catastrophic flooding.

Nope, no “dollop of daisy” here. Instead I’m stuck with a “wallop of disgusting.”  

Don’t get me wrong, there may be a time and a place for ½ a cup of sour cream - like when it’s poured over the world's largest burrito in the Guinness Book of World Records - but plopped down as a garnish on my salad bowl? Hmm… yeah, I’ll pass.

Where is this heinous overcompensation coming from? Are you trying to make up for the fact that you didn’t always have queso? Buck up, my friend, those dark days are long gone.

I know my words may sound a little harsh. So, before you run off crying thinking I’ve broken up with you, I’d like to give you a simple solution.

(clap) USE

(clap) A

(clap) SMALLER

(clap) SPOON.

How will you do it? What’s a SMALL spoon?!?

It sounds crazy, I know. And you don’t want sour cream to feel like it’s getting gipped compared to the other toppings on your menu. But, as we all know, good things come in small packages.

I see you.
I hear you.
I smell you in my clothes after I leave.

We can get through this together.

Love always,
Mexican Food Fanatic

 

 

 

1974

That summer was extra hot. We had become limp at the ends, humidity getting the best of us. We’d wander into the kitchen on Sunday mornings, complaining of Mama and Daddy’s Christian habits. We’d skip out, stay home, make it a habit.

About mid-July, we got antsy. We’d drive Daddy’s Doge Dart around town all night. We’d howl at boys, our faces like wolves, lips pursed toward the moon. We’d smoke Marlboros in the evening; push our painted toes against the windshield and leave a mark.

We’d take Mama’s change, buy ourselves chocolate malts, and make fun of anyone that got strawberry.

One night we decided to go skinny-dipping in our pool.  We wished we were rebels. Our skin showed pale in the moonlight and our chests no longer resembled girls, but women. One of us ahead of the other, one of us a little less ashamed.

  It was above ground, the pool, and the Bradford pear trees between the yard and Old Mr. Schubert’s created little privacy.

We waded in deep, threw our bikinis over the edge, laid on our backs with our eyes toward the stars. We let it melt the day’s heat off our skin, copied each other’s movements, and somersaulted in the blue. We let our hair fan out behind our heads, taking our worries with it. We bobbed in the water, keeping beat with David Bowie on our Mama’s boom box.

We got bored after an hour and slipped back into our swimsuits that were strewn in the grass. We got devious, rowdy, and the idea to find our ping-pong ball and paddles and to hit Old Mr. Schubert’s window until he came lookin’. We could see the lights on in his house, the flashin’ colors of The Price is Right glaring on his TV.

We took swings, heard it hit the window with a hollow bounce and ran to retrieve it. We kept this up for nearly an hour, crossing our fingers that he’d turn his TV off in order to hear our racket.

We kept watch every 5 minutes, peering behind trees like criminals, but it was all for the thrill and nothin’ for the protection. Our figures were slim, juvenile. We swayed our hips and flung our hair. We swung, we crouched, and we ran and whispered, forgetting our parents who played cards inside.

We laughed carelessly. We snuck our Daddy’s liquor from the cabinet near the garage. We would each take a swig, fighting the impulse to gag. We’d spin in circles, fall dizzy. We kept hittin’ that ping-pong ball, making bets on who could hit it the hardest.

We were young, drunk, and dumb, unprepared for what happened.

We were screaming.

And then we were silent.

Our daddy found him in his living room that night, sitting in his burnt orange chair, glass shards a few feet away from him, near the window. The TV was still blinking in the background, but we heard no nothin’.  We watched him get rolled out. We saw the white sheet, the landscape of a man cast upon a midnight backdrop. We got woozy, threw up until our stomachs were empty.

Our Daddy said it was a good thing; Old Man Schubert had been gone for hours, according to doctors.  We hugged our parents, hard. We gave back their empty liquor bottles. We ate toast at our kitchen table and ignored their stares; the punishments we knew would come eventually.

“If that hadn’t happened,” our Mama had said, “who knows how long he could’ve sat in there.”

          We cried ourselves to sleep. We choked on guilt. We slept as close as possible. We saw the shadow of his house cast upon our floor.  We went back to church to that next Sunday. And we prayed.

And we prayed.

And oh, did we pray. 

Home for Christmas

“…When I get home, I'm getting a CAT scan!...”

 The room grows dark and as the credits roll, I sit up off the couch and tip toe up the stairs and around the corner. Sleepy eyes reignited by the lights from the banister that glimmer down the hall, casting shadows of cozy sock feet.

 The faint smell of balsam, cinnamon, and Christmas cookie candles swirls from the kitchen toward the ceiling, just another part of the magic left hanging in the air.

 My sheets are cold and blinds left open just a sliver, wide enough to let in the moonlight and the memories of Rudolph’s journey down Twelve Oaks.

 I drift to sleep and travel back in time to whispers at 6 am, peeking into the darkness.

“Have you gone downstairs yet?” A grin so big you can hear it as I poke my head into my brother’s room. We walk softly but not quite, too excited for everyday footsteps.

Mark in his hoodie, Lindy in pajama pants and fuzzy socks, hair still curled from the night before. Downstairs Ashley sleeps, bright blue walls turned midnight.

We glide across the hardwood and catch a glimpse of what we’ve been waiting for.

 A cheerful round tree twinkles in red, green, and gold surrounded by presents wrapped with snowflakes and candy canes, sticky bows and bright ribbons, tissue paper tucked under branches and name tags for everyone in the bunch.

“Wooooowwww”

 We look around in awe. Stockings stuffed to the brim, barely hanging on to golden snowman hooks. Packed with Andes Mints and chocolate covered cherries, orange tic-tacs, mouth wash, Chapstick and socks.

 The yellow chair and green couches from the night before have been transformed with presents, each meticulously placed. Nike shoes and socks, a basketball, a camera, boots, sweaters, pea coats, lotion, play station games, DVDs and perfume.

 Each kid gets their own moment.

 “I love this.”
“That’s the sweater you asked for!”
“Aw cool, Mark!”
“That’s so cute!”

So cozy, so familiar. Not that long but so many years away.

 Warm hugs, pictures, a click of the camera. Rocky in a Santa Hat, Amy Grant and breakfast casserole. Grandparent hugs around the neck and hot apple cider. Teddy bear nightgowns and American Girls. Walkmans, tapes, and Star Wars. Feet curled up under us as we snuggle up for yet another viewing of Ralphie and his Red Ryder. Neighbors running down the street, barefoot and plaid pants. Robes and bedhead.

 Smiles and tree lights left on for hours.

I turn over in bed as my phone buzzes and Christmas greets me with bright morning light.

“Merry Christmas my twin!”  

 Another year surrounded by the best. This time a little older, with a growing family around the tree. Wedding bands and babies, loss patched up and healed by little hands and new additions. Milestones met, and traditions kept.

 But still so merry, and just as bright. “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!”