04:34:51 pm on
Monday 15 Jul 2024

Ping Pong, Anyone
Jennifer Flaten

It’s your typical Sunday afternoon, the kids are engaged in hand-to-hand combat and I am pretending I don’t hear them.

I step over the pile of thrashing children and head into the kitchen; I open the fridge and discover I need to run to the store.

We are out of milk and ping pong balls. The milk is understandable, with three kids, milk lasts for about 2.5 seconds in the fridge. If someone isn’t drinking it, someone is spilling it.

The ping-pong balls are another matter entirely. We recently got a new, and by new I mean new to us, ping-pong table.

Not only is the table circa 1962 and homemade, it actually once rested in my very basement. It wandered off to another relative’s house, but somehow, it managed to find my way back. Who knew tables had homing beacons?

The ping-pong table came with a five pack of balls. Guess how long it took to lose the ping-pong balls. Yep, it only took one game for all five balls to go missing.

What the table needs is an invisible force field to keep the balls in…hey, that would keep the kids in too!

It seems the kids confused ping-pong with whack a mole; they hit the ping-pong ball with the same vigor I would use to bludgeon a zombie.

If I want any peace from the constant litany of “Do we have anymore Ping Pong balls?” and its partner “When are you getting more ping pong balls?” I need to get to the store ASAP.>

After convincing the kids that yes, 10 degrees is definitely cold, which means they really can’t wear a short sleeve shirt and no coat to the store, I herded them out to the car.

I somehow manage to squish the three children who are now 10x their normal size due to the large amount of winter clothing, into a smallish car. It’s a tight fit, and I drive off feeling like a clown car at the circus. Okay, I always feel like a clown car headed to the circus; if you saw us, you’d think that too.

As I turn from our neighborhood onto the main road, I notice it is quiet, too quiet. The streets are deserted.

Is it Armageddon? Aliens?>

No, it’s the playoffs. The whole town shut down for the football game, everything except the bars. The bars are doing a brisk business; this is after all the binge drinking capital of the world. Around here, Armageddon wouldn’t close the bar.

All the citizens holed up in front of their big screen televisions cheering the home team on, leaving us to plunder the aisles alone

As I cruise the aisles of the grocery store, I marvel at vast array of items in the team colors.

If you ask me, team spirit only goes so far, there is no way I am touching a green and yellow kielbasa. A cute yellow cupcake with green frosting-sure, but a ghastly green steak-no.

Sea of green and gold aside, I’m just happy I found an open store.

Most of the local businesses decided to close early for the game. I can’t imagine they would pass up a chance to sell a last minute case of beer and wheel of green cheese, but apparently, the lure of the pigskin triumphed over the lure of a quick buck.

We head home ping-pong ball-less, but with a dozen green and gold cupcakes. Hey, I never say never to a cupcake.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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