Our routine was disrupted this weekend. Hick did not work on Saturday. We spent the afternoon/early evening at school, at a basketball fundraiser game. Hick went eagerly, upon the promise of chicken and dumplings. That's what the poster above the drinking fountain advertised. Chili, and chicken and dumplings. My mom even decided to join us. She was one step ahead, bringing her own containers to get carry-out. For a good cause, you know. To help our basketball teams raise money. Hick got wind of her plan, and told me to take a container to bring home chicken and dumplings. I can't make them. Only the quick kind with cream of chicken soup and tortillas.
We all drove separately. Except The Pony, of course. That would have been illegal. And ill-conceived. Hick planned to drop by the auction later in the evening, so we picked him up on the Walmart parking lot for the trip to school. After the games, The Pony and I could do our shopping before heading home, and Hick could go on to the auction.
During the intra-squad games, Hick decided he was going to grab a bite of supper. He headed for the cafeteria for some chicken and dumplings. I swear he was salivating. Mom kept an eye on him. She wanted a piece of that chicken and dumpling pie.
Hick returned to our seats at the rail, overlooking the gym floor. "There's no chicken and dumplings."
"What? Did you eat it all?"
"No. They didn't have it."
"But the signs said chicken and dumplings!"
"Well, nobody at the counter seemed to know anything about it. I had chili. And it was spicy. Look at my head sweat! It's already talking back to me." He thumped his fist on his chest.
My mom got wind of the chili talk. "There's no chicken and dumplings? You said there'd be chicken and dumplings!"
"I know. That's what the signs said. I can't believe there's no chicken and dumplings! Will you still want chili? Hick says it's spicy. I know you don't like spicy things."
"Well, I brought my containers. I was looking forward to chicken and dumplings. I guess I'll still get some chili. I was going to eat chicken and dumplings tonight and tomorrow."
"If you put in a lot of crackers, and maybe a dash of sugar, and sprinkle in some shredded cheddar...I think it will be bland enough for you."
Mom nodded. She hadn't brought in containers for nothing, by cracky! She dug through her purse and handed Hick a bag of sugar-free Starlight Mints. "Do you need a Tums? I have one in my purse. Wait! No. I took it out."
Hick stopped giving himself the gently Heimlich. "Those mints will be okay. I don't need a Tums." He stuffed several in his pocket, and handed back the bag. My mom does not eat sugar-free mints. She brings them for Hick. Ever since that time she gave him butterscotch and I asked if she was trying to kill him. They bandied words over the Starlights, and Hick ended up stuffing the whole bag in his pocket. For the car.
Mom and The Pony headed to my classroom to grab her containers. Hick had reported the chili price as $3.00 per bowl. Mom wanted to buy $4.00 worth. She asked for a dipper and a third. The kids running the snack bar put in a little too much. "Give me back my four ones. Here. Take five dollars out of this twenty." They looked at her like she was crazy, but did as she said. "I was really wanting some chicken and dumplings, but I guess I'll just have to settle for chili." They cracked. They spilled the beans that the girls' team was supposed to bring chili, and the boys' team was supposed to bring chicken and dumplings.
I sure hope that money goes to the girls' team! The promise of chicken and dumplings is a terrible thing to waste.
And for Hick and Mom, sing it with me now..."You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need."