Reflections: You gotta be kidding!

George Rowe


It was a day to relax and enjoy. My wife and I went out of town to attend to some personal business. We are approaching the “age” and some necessary paperwork was in need of being completed for Service Canada.

We walked into the Service Canada building and in my jovial demeanor I said to the lovely receptionist, “I’m getting old and I need your help.” My wife never missed a beat and retorted with, “You needed help long before you got old.” Thus we were introduced to Service Canada. (A Reflections article on that fiasco a little later—it’s gonna be a biggie.)

After completing a few more errands my wife said, “I am famished!” “Famished,” I asked? “Yes!” responded my wife. “I’m hungry. I’m ravenous. I’m running out of fuel and I’m fainting from lack of food.”

Wow! This sounds quite serious. I thought that maybe her diabetes was going completely out of whack. I practically pushed her into the little Ford Ranger and hit that gas pedal like there was no tomorrow. I thought that if I don’t get food into her soon then I’m going to have to go back to Service Canada and cancel my wife’s application for Old Age Security. I mean…this is serious.

We got to the food establishment and I literally pulled her from the truck, rushed her through the doors of the food establishment and moved quickly to stand at the food counter. The lovely lady, looking at my wife, asked, “…and what do you wish to order today ma’am?”

My wife, between deep inhaling and exhaling of the strong scented McDonald’s air, said, “Yes! Yes! I will have one order of the Kids Happy Meal!” Before I had a chance to react to the strangeness of this famished woman, I heard her ask the lady, “…and what is the kid’s prize today?”

This can’t be happening. I thought, if I can get my wife back home safely I’m going to join the Red Hat Society but will decline the purple dress. At least I can have a cup of tea without being totally embarrassed.

With a beautiful smile and a very controlled composure the lovely lady looked at my wife and said, “The kid’s prize for today is a book called, The Goat That Ate Everything.” I just about piddled on the floor and I was about to explode with an uncontrolled laughter but I kept my sanity and composure intact. I said to the lady, “The who that did what?” With a great deal of pity she looked at me with downcast eyes and said, “The Goat That Ate Everything…and I’m not kidding.”

This beautiful, famished, food deprived woman was more excited about a child’s book that she was about three chicken nuggets, a handful of fries and a small pop. When the lady was about to pass my wife the gift I asked, “May I see that please?” “Of course you can,” she said.

I took the little package and was about to remove the book from its plastic bag, whereupon, in BOLD letters, I read: WARNING: To avoid danger of suffocation, keep bag away from babies and children. Dispose of this bag immediately.

There in no way in God’s Heaven I was going to let my wife suffocate on this tiny plastic bag. I rushed her to the nearest table, made sure she was comfortable, breathing normally, no skin discoloration, hot or cold flashes. One of the customers said, “Sir, I’m sorry to see that your mother is so stressed out.” “My mother! This is not my mother! This is my beautiful wife of forty-three years and she is suffering from a Kids Happy Meal attack!” The customer simply grunted.

I rushed back to the counter, quickly removed The Goat That Ate Everything from it suffocating plastic bag, grabbed the life-saving Kids Happy Meal basket (this is so embarrassing), and weaving my way through customer traffic

I flopped myself at the table, placed the meal before my wife and then she asked, “Where is The Goat That Ate Everything?” I retorted, “Are you kidding me?” I quickly placed the book in front of her. The little plastic bag was already in my pocket.

Removing the ‘little’ bookmark my wife smiled as she read, “Hey kids, new adventures are waiting for you inside every book!” She stared at the bookmark. And then she stared some more and with a voice sounding like it came from the other side of the planet she asked, “And where is the sauce for my three chicken nuggets?”

I held her wrist to make sure blood was still moving in her veins and then pinched her fingernails to make sure they were still a normal color. I rushed back to get nugget sauce. I asked the server, “Are there other books in this series?” “Yes,” she said, “there are three more. Would you like to know the titles?”

I tried to be kind and gentle in my response. “No thank you. Just know this…the next time my wife and I come to town on business I will be bringing bologna sandwiches.” The lady laughed so heard she almost backed into the deep fryer.

Embellishing this (sort of) true story doesn’t take away from the central truth that simple things in life often bring the greatest pleasures. My wife and I have an absolutely awesome relationship and can laugh real hard at each other’s expense. We find that laughter brings release, healing, freedom, and an abundance of joy in even the most difficult circumstances of life. The Bible says, “…there is a time to weep and a time to laugh.” (Ecclesiastes 3:4). If we can develope the art of laughter, then we will experience the freedom of choice. Enjoy your Kid’s Happy Meal and never forget that the sun is always shining.