Growing up with such a large family of boys, most of my Saturday’s were occupied going to games. Little League baseball, basketball, and football.
If I was not playing I was required to attend my brothers’ games. My parents would not allow me to stay home by myself. Sometimes Saturday’s would be an all day event because 4 or 5 of my brothers would be playing at different times throughout the day.
There was one benefit to attending these all day events. Treats.
Treats are what we called any type of sugary food from the concession stand.
At some point during the 6-hour day, my dad would ask, “Who wants a treat?”
Of course no one ever said “No”.
We (anywhere between 3 and 7 of us) would walk over to the concession area and stand in line as we told my dad what we wanted. He would repeat what we said to the people working. “Bottlecaps, uh, Razzles, Charleston Chew. What? Oh. Billy what flavor Charleston Chew? Strawberry. A Fun Dip. I am not supposed to let you have that. Okay. A Fun Dip. Red Hot Dollars and a Snow Cone.” As the lady working the counter handed my dad each item he would turn around and pass it back.
We would walk back to the area in the bleachers or on the hill that overlooked Field 2 that was designated by one of our parents as the meeting spot. Sitting through a T-ball game and a Minors League blow out (usually the Lawnwhisperer’s team. He was always on a stinky team) did not seem to suck as bad once you had your treat. We would devour our candy and then fight to sit still through the next couple of games. We were not allowed to “horseplay” we were “there to watch the games.”
At some point, when the candy was gone and the wrappers were in the trashcan, someone, sometimes me, sometimes someone else, would say, “Thanks Dad.” Immediately following the first thanks there was an echo of “Thanks Dad.” from everyone else.
In my mind it always felt so good to be the first to say thanks. By being the first to say thanks that meant I was the only one to truly mean it. Everyone else was just saying it because someone else said thanks. I always felt bad not being the first to say it.
As we got older it became a competition to see who could say thanks first. If it was one of my brothers and not me, I would hold my ‘thanks” until later, so my dad knew I meant it. So he wouldn’t think I was just saying thanks because someone else did. Often times I would hold my “Thanks Dad” too long and would forget to say thanks at all.
For every time I forgot.
That should cover me for a while. Except that my dad rarely reads Poop and Boogies and I am sure all of my brothers are calling him right now to say thanks so they can beat me to it.