In “The Story of Babar” by A.A. Milne (which was based on “Histoire de Babar” by Jean de Brunhoff), the king of the elephants dies after eating a poison mushroom. That was the first time The Kid Brother heard about poison mushrooms. Or I could be making that up. Maybe that was the first time I heard about poison mushrooms. More likely The Kid Brother saw it on an American television Western in the 1960s. You know, some outlaw escaping through the desert scrub and desperate for food and water. Hmmm… What’s this? Ah, mushrooms!
|NON-POISONOUS MUSHROOM HERE IN SPAIN. BUT THE PRICE COULD CAUSE INDIGESTION.
(THE EURO IS ONLY THERE FOR SIZE COMPARISON.)
What matters is that, when The Kid Brother was still just ‘a kid,’ he heard about poison mushrooms. From that time on, he has not eaten one single mushroom. I thought he just didn’t like them. It wasn’t until the mid-1990s when The Kid Brother was visiting us in San Diego that I discovered the truth. He and I were out for lunch at Seaport Village on the waterfront. I was about to bite into my giant Portobello mushroom burger and he looked at me from across the table with panic written all over his face.
“That’s not poison, is it?!?” he blurted.
And then I understood. When The Kid Brother is told something, it sticks with him for the rest of his life. And, if a mushroom can be “poison,” how is he supposed to know when one isn’t? When he was 12, The Dowager Duchess told him that chocolate was bad for his skin. He hasn’t had chocolate for 42 years. That’s will-power — well, OK, that’s really obsessive-compulsive behavior… but still. Anyway, to be more precise, The Kid Brother hasn’t had chocolate–colored chocolate in 42 years. White chocolate apparently doesn’t count.
The Kid Brother works in a large store, part of a national chain. Way back when, on holidays, our sister Dale used to always buy us special goodies. The best were the solid chocolate Easter eggs, and jumbo Easter bunnies. And gigantic Santas and reindeer, also of solid chocolate (no hollow chocolate from our sister). The Kid Brother thought they were the best, too, until he hit 12 and The Dowager Duchess shared that unfortunate information. A couple of weeks ago, I told the kid brother to pick up a big, solid chocolate Easter bunny for me this year. He had told me his store was completely stocked with Easter sweets.
“No way,” he snarled, “I don’t eat chocolate!”
He was unmoved when I said, “Well, I do!”
“You need to stop!” he snarled.
So, no solid chocolate Easter bunny for me this year. As the Kid Brother would say, “Sheesh!”
|IN THE 1970S, WAITING TABLES AT A SUMMER CAMP IN RAMAPO, NEW YORK.
I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S ON THE TRAY THE KID BROTHER’S HOLDING, BUT
IF HE COULD SERVE THAT SLOP, YOU’D THINK HE’D SERVE ME SOME CHOCOLATE!
San Geraldo had pity. While in the supermarket last week after Easter, he found a box of “Nubes de chocolate con leche,” which translates to “Clouds of milk chocolate.” Marshmallow chicks dipped in milk chocolate. They were surprisingly good. But a dozen milk chocolate clouds disappeared into thin air — as clouds will do. So, there’s still room for those after-Easter, half-price solid chocolate bunnies. Just a thought.