My Grandfather Hated Chocolate Cupcakes
My grandfather hated chocolate cupcakes. That didn’t stop my grandmother from packing one in his lunch every day.
“Please,” my grandfather said. “Don’t pack me any more chocolate cupcakes. Even the pigeons won’t eat them, and they eat everything. Why would I want to eat something that pigeons won’t eat?”
I asked my mother why my grandmother didn’t just stop packing chocolate cupcakes in my grandfather’s lunch bag.
“My mother was very stubborn,” my mother replied.
My grandmother didn’t stop sending chocolate cupcakes in my grandfather’s lunch — except for that one day she gave him a bag of wooden clothespins instead.
When I was growing up, there was a clothesline in every yard. Women — yes, it was always women — carried wet freshly washed laundry upstairs from their basement washing machines in a basket before opening the window and neatly pinning each item to the clothesline to dry.
Of course, clothes dryers had already been invented, but you had to be pretty special to own one. My parents owned one. I guess we were pretty special, but my mother still hung our clothes on the line to dry unless there was bad weather.
My grandmother kept her wooden clothespins in a brown paper bag. She packed my grandfather’s lunch for work in an identical brown paper bag.
It was inevitable that one day she would mix up the two.
Just as my grandfather took his lunch break at work only to discover a heaping helping of wooden clothespins in his bagged lunch, my grandmother opened her bag of clothespins to find a sandwich and a chocolate cupcake.
It was the only time my grandmother didn’t send a chocolate cupcake to work with him.
One day, my grandfather came home from the grocery store with a box. He was so excited because he thought he had finally found the answer to the problem of the chocolate cupcakes.
The cardboard box was heavy, and it had a picture of rows of blueberry muffins printed on the front. For fifteen cents, my grandfather thought he had bought himself dozens of moist plump muffins to pack in his brown paper bag lunches for work.
“Look,” he told my grandmother with glee. “Look at all the muffins I bought.” He tore open the cardboard box to reveal its contents. It was a box of flour.
The following day, my grandmother packed two chocolate cupcakes in his lunch.