Flossie and the chip | Mark’s Remarks

Sometimes when I am majorly fed up with some of my own children and their idiosyncrasies, I try very hard to reach back in the recesses of my memory and see if I can remember being so stinkin’ difficult.

My kids have been notoriously picky eaters in their day. Michelle was a picky eater, according to her parents. Each child has been a little pickier than the first, and the baby of the family wears the family crown as queen of picky eaters.

If I were to list all the things she does not like to eat, you would be wondering how the poor child stays alive. I am thankful to say my three oldest children have broadened their horizons and are now actually eating lots of food they wouldn’t have dared to try in their early years.  

Along the line, they most likely tried different foods at the homes of their friends. They certainly didn’t try anything new that may have been introduced by their parents.  

Heavens no!

We were having a pretty nice dinner the other night and as it was cooking, we broke out a few potato chips and some french onion dip. 

You know, a fancy appetizer of sorts.

With a look of utter disgust, the Queen of Picky waltzed into the kitchen and asked in a tone that matched her facial expression, “What is that?” Not only had she never tried chip dip, she’d obviously never seen it.

Of course, I immediately told her what it was and how good it was. She wouldn’t even look at it, much less smell it or try it.

At that moment, my mind catapulted itself back to 1972, grocery shopping with my mom at Food Park.  I usually rode under the cart, sitting on the lower level.  

I’m not sure shopping carts are even designed like that anymore.  Can kids still fit underneath after they are too big for the little seat on top? It’s been a long time since I paid attention. Furthermore, it just isn’t fair that there are fancy carts designed to look like little automobiles in this day and age.

I mean, heck, where was the creativity in 1972?

OK, so back to Food Park. There I was, riding along on the bottom of the cart like I usually did with mom on Saturdays. As we were browsing through the store and picking up necessities, I saw a lady named Flossie who worked at the store.  

I’m not sure what her job title was, but she was a friendly and nice-looking lady who often took care of special features in the store.  Today, Flossie was standing at a little portable counter and handing out Crane potato chips with a little bit of Prairie Farms French onion dip on them.

I was even younger than my daughter at that time, but I don’t think I had ever seen chip dip at that time.  

I was intrigued. Raised to be a polite kid, I dutifully took the chip Flossie was offering me and cautiously put it in my mouth. It was just a sample. A little dab of the Prairie Farm’s dip on a large Crane chip.

You may think I’m making it up, but I can still remember how that chip tasted, and how much I liked that dip. It was as if my taste buds were now awakened to all kinds of new things and that dip ushered in the era of me trying new foods. 

I was quite a talker when I was little (can you believe that?) and I can remember going on and on about that dip. In fact, I think we walked out of the store that particular day with a little tub of dip.  I’m sure we had some Crane’s chips, too, as  they were sort of a staple at our house.

That day, with Flossie and her wonderful chip sample, has lived in the back of my mind for a long time. It is interesting how it came up again – how I could remember the taste of that chip and how I started trying new foods afterwards.

But I still didn’t get my kid to even try a crumb, even with my vivid recollection and charming anecdote.

Oh well.

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Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.
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