He's not too far off.
Parker sat on the black slatted stool at my kitchen island, his toes kicking the clapboard in front of them, his little five-year-old fingers holding an English Muffin, his eyes focused on keeping the balance right so that the lovely pools of butter filling the crevices and crannies in the toasted muffin would not run out before his sweet little set of Kindergartner teeth got to them. I was at the sink, watching him delight in this new experience: his first English Muffin.
“Gummy”…(that’s what he calls me…what all my grand kids call me)…”Gummy, this doesn’t look like a muffin.”
“No, I suppose it doesn’t buddy. Not like the muffins your mama makes. This is how they make them in England, where your daddy went on his mission.”
I didn’t know if that was the truth, actually.
I listened as he gobbled and hummed, his throat instinctively emitting glottal tones of pleasure.
I knew exactly what he meant.
“I know, buddy, how do you like it?”
“Ith’s really good, Can I have another?”
So, as all good Gummies should, I took another muffin and caressed it in my fingertips until the two pieces broke from each other, their nice peaks and valleys fully intact and ready to fill the measure of their creation. I popped the two pieces into the toaster oven, tapped the button to start, and watched the glow of warmth appear through the oven window. The kitchen smelled like a winter morning on the best days of my childhood, that comforting aroma of toasted bread calling everyone to the kitchen table.
The timer went DING and the light disappeared. I opened the toaster door and evaluated the muffins, deciding they needed about 45 seconds more to get the perfect gilt to the peaks. So in they went, again.
When they were just right I slid them from the rack onto a plate, then slathered a nice chunk of good cold creamery butter on top, easing the chunk with my knife across the yeasty landscape until the chunk had disappeared and a series of golden mountain lakes appeared, like springtime in the Rockies. I slid the plate under Parker’s nose.
He scooped them up, nibbling and gobbling as the sounds of pleasure continued.
I turned to put the butter back in the cupboard when he said it: Those words I knew were truth. Truth I had learned in my own heart of hearts.
“Gummy…” He said, pausing to take another bite.
“…melted butter ith GOOD!”
I stood at the sink, smiling at my boy, feeling like we had made this sacred passage together, like he had himself discovered the truth without anyone having to testify to him.
Our best truths are discovered seemingly by accident. They are nibbled in tasty little bites:
A sprinkle of kindness, a spoonful of humility, a sip of trust, a chewy chunk of tolerance.
Parker and his miniature siblings and cousins taste life in bite size portions and I am blessed to sometimes present those portions to them, and to even partake with them. Each new discovery is a testament to this old creature of myself, a witness that we are not simple little line drawings, but complex mosaics laid down one little pebble at a time.
You get old. You become accustomed. You forget. Until these little reminders speak up.
And then you remember what you forgot you knew. Indeed, my little friend, melted butter IS good!