Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

A cautionary tale


Mom is on the right…

I’m starting to worry about getting older.

My mom could be a harbinger of what’s to come for me, unfortunately. She just turned 79 the other day, and though she’s doing fine, she does have her senior moments. Like this one:

Opening a fresh tub of “premium ice cream” one day last week, she noticed something odd about it. Something was in there. Something “foreign.” She poked around a bit, probing, digging like an ice cream archeologist, until she figured out that there was a chicken bone in her “premium ice cream”! A chicken bone, with meat hanging off of it!

We’ve all heard the stories of people finding horrible things in their packaged foods, and Mom has heard more than her share of them. She watches all the alarmist cable TV shows. Headlines in the grocery store magazine racks have not failed to catch her eye. Lamb fetuses, pig’s eyes, monkey paws — they’re always turning up in frozen lasagnas and sacks of mixed veggies. It was not out of the question that a chicken bone with meat hanging off of it might show up in her “premium ice cream.” In fact, at her age, the odds dictated that it was about time something like this happened to her.

She couldn’t stand it. She would not be cheated. The next day she took her tub of “premium ice cream” back to the grocery store and demanded to see a manager. At the service desk she pushed the tub toward the well-meaning manager and growled, “Look what’s inside this tub of your [air quote] premium ice cream!”

He opened it up and looked inside. His face didn’t betray any recognition of the atrocity in there — probably to avoid blame. After a reasonable period of contemplation, he looked at her again and said, “I’m sorry, ma’am. I don’t see anything in that ice cream.”

“It’s right there. Look.”

He made an effort but still didn’t see it. “Why don’t you point it out to me,” he said.

“It’s right there. That thing. It’s a chicken bone, and it has meat hanging off of it!”

The manager produced a pen or letter opener or something and probed. He lifted out the offending object.

“See?” Mom said. “It’s a chicken bone. With meat hanging off of it. In your premium ice cream.”

“Ma’am,” he said, “this is a piece of cookie and dark chocolate. It’s what’s supposed to be in this ice cream. It’s what makes it premium.”

Like Emily Litella, Mom gazed at him blankly, then said, “Never mind.”

“Would you like another tub of ice cream, ma’am?”

“Yes, please.”

She took the replacement tub of premium ice cream and left. Now she says she can never go back to that store.

This is just one of the reasons I worry about getting older…

11 comments on “A cautionary tale

  1. Charles Yallowitz
    October 10, 2014

    My grandmother had moments like that. It’s one of those things where part of me wanted to laugh, but the other part had the sense that it could be me in a couple decades.

  2. 1WriteWay
    October 10, 2014

    I hope she never orders sushi 😉 Senior moments aside … she saw something she didn’t expect to see and assumed the worst. My mom and her sisters are considerably older than your mom (late 80s, early 90s) but your story reminds me of how their expectations of even simple things like ice cream are …well .. simple. I can imagine my mom not only being leery of ice cream with “stuff” in it, but she probably would have told the store manager that in her mind, putting cookies and stuff in the ice cream doesn’t make it “premium.” And for my sushi comment, my mom once picked up a couple of sushi rolls at a buffet thinking they were some kind of dessert. I just wish I had been there for that one 😉

  3. sknicholls
    October 10, 2014

    I’m really scared because I’m only 54 and I was having senior moments ten years ago.

    • Kevin Brennan
      October 10, 2014

      Yeah, it’s a bit upsetting when they happen long before you even qualify for Social Security!

  4. John W. Howell
    October 10, 2014

    Let’s give mom a well done for taking action. So it wasn’t a chicken bone. Could have been. (I am putting this story in my journal of what not to do when I’m 79 in six more years)

    • Kevin Brennan
      October 10, 2014

      Yes, I’d rather she be overly cautious than eat any old thing she finds in her food…

      Also, no way you’re 79 in six years! You look 35!

      • John W. Howell
        October 10, 2014

        Haahaaahaaaaaaaaaaaa. *Gulp* Excuse me, I choked on my oatmeal.

  5. ericjbaker
    October 10, 2014

    You’re mom can go ahead and keep shopping there. I’ve worked retail and a dozen weird things like that happen every week. I’m sure every day in a supermarket.

    • Kevin Brennan
      October 10, 2014

      That’s what I told her. I bet she made the guy’s day…

  6. Pingback: Ten Things Not to Do If You Are Over Seventy Years of Age | Fiction Favorites

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