Friday, September 23, 2011

Chips Ahoy Cold War





Like any good father when my son, Darth Spoilboy, was born almost sixteen years ago I wanted to pass down certain cultural traditions that I felt important. However, being hamstrung by our location and the conflicting nature of my work hours and National Guard duties during those early years many activities were either greatly curtailed or had to be abandoned.

I will admit there were times I was close to being outright depressed at not being able to share activities like spontaneous trips to the beach with my infant and later toddler son similar to the ones my uncles took me on at the same ages. Now to be honest my uncles, who at the time were in their late teenage years, were using me as bait to attract the attentions of bikini-clad ladies they knew in high school.

Despite the many cynical remarks by my wife, I never for a minute intended the spur-of-the-moment trips down to the coast I wanted to make with my son for the same reason. Now if any attractive ladies out on the beach felt drawn to my young son because of their raging maternal instincts that was something beyond my control and since I was raised to be a Southern gentlemen I was required to be friendly and responsive to their interest in my son.

Nevertheless, because of certain circumstances, namely the audio recorder/tracking device called a wedding ring my wife forced me to wear, it became necessary to share less exotic activities with my son like my utter devotion to Chips Ahoy cookies. Spoilboy could not help but eventually come to share a similar religious zeal to those glorious cookies but unfortunately, in recent years our mutual affection for them has evolved into a cold war with increasingly desperate attempts to hide the Chips Ahoy bags from each other.

The actual memory of my first exposure to the luscious and pure all American goodness that is Chips Ahoy cookies faded away long ago but the story I like to remember involves my grandmother and her desire to keep her house clean.

Decades ago here in the South, during a far simpler age, there was a common philosophy that no good whatsoever could come with “youngins” staying inside a house during the day. This belief was so extreme that during summer months when school was out kids were often shooed outside by their mothers and not allowed back indoors until dinner later that evening. The only real exceptions to this policy were for a short period at noon for lunch and very severe thunderstorms. Any other time gangs of kids could often be found wandering through neighborhoods like hordes of bipedal locusts looking for something to do. Those in my age group were experiencing the very last years of a golden age of adventure and innocence for kids and I was lucky to have experienced any of it.

The first of many societal assaults that eventually brought an end to that ear began when local televisions stations started their insidious broadcast of several hours of kids programs in the afternoon. The endgame of it all eventually lead to soul crushing cable cartoon channels filled with crass commercials and mind numbing video games.

Being a ravaging horde of bipedal locust looking for stimulation my siblings and cousins using a hive-like sixth sense invariable made our way to our grandparents house in hopes of watching Bugs, Daffy, and Roadrunner, and after that “The Three Stooges.” For about an hour our Granny welcomed such visits until we began reenacting the rambunctious antics of Moe, Larry, and Curly endangering her clean house and sanity. Now Granny was cunning and after decades of using Pavlovian training techniques on her own children knew exactly how to chase away her over stimulated grandkids.

When Granny could not take it anymore, she would pull out the famous blue Chips Ahoy bag and after giving us one cookie each, would toss the rest outside on the front porch. With our sugary instincts primed like sharks smelling blood we would rush outside and begin the frenzy. No one should be surprised that given our crazed state we never once heard the clicks of our grandmother locking both the front and back doors.

***

My son’s first exposure to Chips Ahoy began when he was a toddler, after we returned home at the end of the day a bag of the cookies would sit between as we both sat in from of the television watching the evening news. Icy cold milk was the beverage of choice with his in a Barney the Dinosaur sippy cup and mine in a quart-sized tiki mug. After Spoilboy chewed on a couple of cookie he would grow bored with the news and doze off leaving me with the entire contents. As it can be expected that was my chance to relive my youthful fantasies of having a complete bag of Chips Ahoy all to myself.

All through the period of our ravaging horde visits to my grandmother’s house, I had to contend with three younger siblings and several cousins each battling on the porch for as many cookies as possible. During Spoilboy’s early years, I was still a lean, and very mean fighting machine so a whole bag could disappear in the space of thirty-minute news broadcast along with nearly a gallon of milk. Now things have greatly changed.

My lean and mean army trained body has morphed into that of a middle-aged civilian and Spoilboy has long since gone beyond being satisfied with just two cookies. The trouble began when one of us, I am not saying who, found the quantity of Chips Ahoy dangerously low. The natural male knuckling dragging thought was to protect the supply by hiding it from the person who might take what was left, then deny any knowledge of their whereabouts.

Since my son and I know each other very well this subterfuge was successful for only a very short time, after that it became a contest to find where the cookie were hidden. Early hiding places were easy for both of us to uncover, I normally picked high places requiring him to climb and he would locate redoubts in the far corners of low cabinets. Places where my wife stored her exotic and outright scary kitchen appliances that were at best used once a year.

On a side note, so rare are these bizarre culinary appliances ever used that there has been several occasions we when we have forgotten we owned them and have mistakenly gone out and bought duplicates. Only to rediscovered the original appliances after searching for a place to store the one we recently bought. My wife finds such occurrences outrageously funny, for various reasons I fail to find the humor in those situations.

Anyway I digress, in recent years this Chips Ahoy cold war with my son as escalated to the point that Dragonwife, my lovely spouse, has become drawn into the conflict. Feeling that my middle-age spread has become an issue she has begun restricting the purchase of Chips Ahoy to times we have discount coupons. Dragonwife treats these coupons as classified materials and only shares this information with Spoilboy in an attempt to curry favor with him.

Since my only skills at espionage have come from spy novels and television shows like “Burn Notice” I will admit that I have been caught a couple of times sneaking looks through Dragonwife’s coupon folder. But such desperate actions are required because if Dragonwife is able to make the purchase and then pass the Chips Ahoy over to my son I will pay a steep price for even one cookie.

When will this cookie cold war ever end? It is hard to say since I am quite proficient at concealing the cookies when I am able to get my hand on them first. For years Spoilboy never found my hiding place behind the washing machine until recently when he searched in that area looking for a missing shirt.

Now a good cold warrior would not have said a word but feeling he had scored a massive coup in our frosty conflict Spoilboy danced around the house in victory. Like the proud father I was I saluted his momentary triumph and just smiled. I did not say a word about the fact that a few weeks before I had found his own Chips Ahoy hiding place but had left his stash untouched.



22 comments:

Nance said...

Oh, I am ALL over this one! First, I had a Southern Granny who kept my cousins and me after school and on weekends. You're right; it was outdoors for all hours, barefoot and bee-stung in summer. This was the fifties and, toward the end of them, Our Gang, The Mickey Mouse Club, Felix The Cat, and American Dance Party began to lure us in at 3:00 p.m. to fight over the seat next to Granny's temperamental old b&w t.v.

And Chips Ahoy? (I taught the kids to call them Chips De Hoi.) Those were paired up, in best Pavlovian fashion, with a family viewing of Fraggle Rock when my own two were young. We'd hear the Fraggle Rock theme and start salivating.

I'm gratified they are still made, still in the cherished blue bag, and still--tell me it's so--crisp and utterly to die for.

John McElveen said...

I'm so at HOME here!!!!!!!!!!! Going to get my Oreo's and Milk!

Have a Great weekend at the Beach Bro!!!!


J

Pixel Peeper said...

I'm more a Keebler kind of gal, but I can relate to hiding items from a revenous teenager. We used to call a corner of our master bedroom closet "our secret pantry."

John Myste said...

When I saw that Chips Ahoy bag the first time, I wondered whatever could this post be about it. Frankly, it never occurred to me that it was about chips ahoy. Who rights about a cookie brand name? Just doesn't happen!

John Myste said...

Pixel,

What?! Is there a difference?! I am a fresh baked kind of gal, only a guy and I don't bake.

John Myste said...

Oh, and about the hiding thing, when I was a child, I hid candy from my sister in law under a skirted chair (lots of it. Bags full). When she found it, I was mortified, not because she took it. She didn't, but because she found it and it looked like I was hording candy and not sharing, which simply was not true. I did share with my sister.

John Myste said...

Oh, and I would have shared with my sister in law also, but she would have eaten it, or at least some of it, and then my sister and I would have had less candy. There was just no sense in that.

John Myste said...

And what do you do, once you see your sister in law find your hidden candy and you are pretty sure she saw you see, but no one is acknowledging that an event has occurred?

Do you hide the candy elsewhere, perhaps starting a super-secret game of hide and go seek where no one admits the game is being played? Do you just leave it there, knowing she will not touch it because to do so, she would have to announce that she found it? Could I leave it there? I would be embarrassed again every time I ate a piece. However, if I hide it elsewhere, then I am confirming that I know she found it. If I reveal it and offer her some, she would know why I was doing it. How embarrassing, and blatantly hypocritical.

I remember George Bernard Shaw or someone saying like if you cannot keep your skeleton in the closet, you may as well dance with. I don’t think dancing with candy would have helped the situation. Shaw was an idiot!

I almost feel like I need to write a post about this. It was 30 years ago, but the pain is still there and I am shamed, even as I type.

You and your damn Chips Ahoy!

Randal Graves said...

Mr. Beach, tear open this bag!

Didn't you pay attention during the real Cold War? You hire a proxy army to do your dirty work. Leave the bag untouched, but enlist someone else to pilfer from the hiding place, the skim a chip or two off the top, et voila, victory for freedom and baseball and puppies or something.

Mr. Charleston said...

Your grandma must not have had much of a dog if he couldn't beat both you and your brother to the bag of goddies tossed onto the front porch. With my dog, it would have been no contest.

Ranch Chimp said...

Mornin Bum! ... Thanx for the personal read, it was fun, just getting ready to go out of town to work, reading and letting my hair dry (my hair isnt like my photo now, it's past my shoulder's in length, and I dont use blow dryer's : ) ... but we dont have any war's these dayz in our home, probably because I am the only one here most of the time, my daughter is travelling alot because of her business, mostly American cities, and my wife is partner's with 2 other gal's in their own business too ... so I am here more than anyone else, and of course, since I have more time to spare, I do ALL the home chores, cleaning, cooking, etc ... 3 of my grandson's come by almost daily after school, watch music video's and chat with me about whatever pop's up, etc ... my daughter's boyfriend like's to spend the night here with her on weekend's when she's in town, because his mom is kind of uptight about the sleeping thing before marriage, etc ... but that's a lil personal about me pardna ... and by the way ... I do love Chocolate Chip cookies to this day, even at 55 year's old! : ) ... headin out Dude ... Later ....

Truth 101 said...

Are your kids like mine BB? No matter where I hide the Chips Ahoy, Milky Ways, Pringles, the little shits, not so little anymore but still shits, find and devour them.

Inconsiderate. That's what they are. Even my granddaughter who still crawls got into a cabinet I had my cheese balls in and ate damn near every one before I caught her. It was your fault BB. I was reading one of your stories and didn't want to stop till it was finished. You owe me a can of cheese balls and six diaper changes. (grandbaby's, not mine)

Windsmoke. said...

You've described my school days quit well. When school was finished for the day we would go home get change grab a biscuit go back out again either go down to the park, creek or footy oval until tea time. Back then tv was a non event as their were no programs on for children of our age unlike today :-).

Jason said...

A really very interesting read! I hope you keep updating us with more info!

Akelamalu said...

So you and Spoilboy would both be happy with a bag of Chips Ahoy from Santa then? ;)

Beach Bum said...

Nance: In my much younger childhood years we only had the "Happy Raine" show, a very nice lady who came on Channel five from Charleston. She talked with kids and showed a few cartoons. After that it was the news which bored my little mind to tears.

John: I can't believe I'm writing this but the beach was a bust. Except for the Charleston bridge walk I made it rained whenever I got out of the car.

Pixel: Its gotten so bad I thinking about buying a cheap locker I can put a pad lock on.

John Myste: I have never once claimed to be in my right mind. ;)

I have a few skeletons in my closet, hopefully ones I will not have to dance with anything soon.

Randal: You know, my daughter would work just fine in that regard.

Mr Charleston: The great Doddles, a black and tan dachshund lived only for bacon. Plus, if he had gotten in the way we would have probably bitten him.

Ranch: Chocolate chips are the best.

Truth101 : Feel free to drop down here and we will break out the keg and drink and talk about it until we fall over.

Jason: Thanks!

Akelamalu: Yeah, I would be very happy with just Chips Ahoy.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Chips Ahoy rocks - no question. But if I had to pick MY favorite cookie, I gots to go with Grandma's Molasses. Dem's boys is damn tasty!

John McElveen said...

BB- Hey Bro--at least YOU WENT--and I have been over & under (by Boat of course) that Bridge so many times I have to Walk it soon!!!

J

Mike said...

My Step-Dad The Grinch, wouldn't bother to hide any treat. Instead they would remain tucked in safely under his gut while he lolled on the sofa. But if on of the 5 children should happen to lose focus for a moment and turn to the TV, a cookie or starburst or whatever the treat would come zooming in to catch the unfortunate victim in the head. For some reason this amused him greatly.

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lime said...

the issue in my house is chocolate. even when i've been given some quantity for my birthday, even when i have shared some of my precious gift, the hordes of barbarians in my house are unsatisfied. the looting and raiding that goes on is horrifying. my hiding places have all been found. i've had to resort to desperate measures. i've started hiding it along with a tube of KY jelly in the hopes that if anyone finds it they will be so horrified to think their mother has a sex life they will run away in distress before ever consuming my chocolate.

shi zhan said...

レイバンを掛けてる萩原桃子さん、可愛すぎる!この間の雑誌を見て、ムルーアのプロヂューサーである萩原桃子さんの夏ファッションがあって、そこでレイバン wayfarerを掛けてる桃子さんの姿があった。とても素敵で、一目惚れしてしまい、レイバン RB2140だったそうで、同じものを手に入れたいと思う。