Most mornings, my mom walked us to the bus stop and waited until we got on the bus to leave. My dad usually left for work in the morning and we would see him when he returned in the evenings, just in time for dinner. For a while though, I remember my dad and I had a morning routine of our own. Before driving me to school in the morning, we walked to the weird-smelling convenience store across the street from our apartment building. I could never really narrow down the distinct odor in this store, but it was a mixture of mustiness and possibly beef jerky? It was a 7-eleven-ish type of store that sold a little bit of everything, including a variety of Hostess snacks.
My dad let me choose one snack to take to school. I usually chose the Hostess Sno Balls–the pink ones, if they had it, but I was willing to settle for the white ones. Then I would be on my merry way to school. I never ate it in the morning. I always saved my snack for lunch time.
On one of those mornings, my dad said “We’re running late, so we can’t go to the store today.”
“Oh,” I said and I looked straight at him, trying to hold back the tears. It wasn’t just the idea of not having a snack that bothered me, it was the disruption to our routine. Skipping the store meant that we would be spending less time together. Even though the trip to the store was very quick, I looked forward to those few extra minutes with my dad.
“Do you really want to go?” He asked.
“Um…yeah,” I mumbled.
My dad laughed and said, “Okay, let’s go.” We hurried up and ran to the store.
Later that day, I walked through the lunch line along with everyone else, waiting to have my Styrofoam tray handed to me with food that I was most likely just going to pick through. I was excited though: I had a fresh pack of Sno Balls in my hand. Even if I didn’t like the food that day, I had a backup snack. No one else around me had some and I felt special. One of the lunch ladies saw it and asked where I got it from.
I smiled and proudly said, “From my dad.”