I was telling a friend this story the other day and figured I’d share it here, too. When I was growing up my mom was really picky about her house and things. She’s mellowed considerably in her older age, but back then you didn’t make messes or you suffered the consequences. Examples include: you had to take your shoes off before you walked in the house, there was plastic on the living room sofa and she actually mopped the garage floor. It was vital that you not spill, drop or make messy anything.
When I was six, just before starting kindergarten, we went to Kentucky Fried Chicken (it was called that then, none of this KFC crap). My dad was out of town so mom was treating us to fast food chicken. It was a rarity. I was totally excited. I had a pivotal role in our adventure. I had to hold the chicken in my lap for the ride home. My arms encircled the bucket. I gripped it as if it was a precious artifact from ancient times. There was no way I was going to mess up mom’s car. When we got back home, mom pulled into the garage. I gingerly stepped out of the car with my very important cargo. I carefully shut the door using my backside and then immediately fell over, tossing the chicken out of the bucket and all over the garage floor. I felt my heart sink and the panic rising. Wide-eyed and holding back tears, I looked at mom and prepared to get in all sorts of holy hell trouble. She turned around, looked down at the chicken and then back up at me. My lip was quivering. Then completely out of left field, she smiled and said, “It’s ok…we all make mistakes with chicken.” We picked up the chicken together and when it was all back in the bucket she said, “This is our little secret.” And it was. My sister got home from school and we had that chicken for dinner. It was so good, but what was really special was as we ate the chicken my mom smiled at me. I love her for that moment and to this day never get upset when I make mistakes with chicken.