When I was in my early teens, I accompanied my father as he ran some errands in town. We stopped at a McDonald’s for lunch, and as we headed back to Dad’s red Toyota pickup truck, I started feeling sick to my stomach. On the way home, I felt worse and worse. About a mile down the road, Dad stopped at a Dairy Dell and said, “Go in and get a Coke. It’ll settle your stomach. And while you’re in there, get me a large cone.” He remained in the truck.
So, I went into the restaurant and stepped to the back of the line. As I inched forward, I continued to feel sicker. Finally, when it was my turn to order, I stepped forward and threw up all over the counter.
A kind woman took me in back and cleaned me up. When I finally returned to the truck, all Dad said was, “Where’s my cone?”
More than 30 years later, that restaurant is still called “The Pukery” in my family, and I trot that story out when the subject of most embarrassing moments comes up. It was funny until I had a child of my own, which shed new light on the parenting I had received. My experience at the Dairy Dell was definitely eye-opening from the perspective of motherhood. If my son was ill, it wouldn’t occur to me to “medicate” him with Coca Cola, send him into a restaurant alone to purchase this “medication,” and ask him to get something for me in the process. But that is how my father parented, and it makes me a little sad for the embarrassed girl standing at the counter of the Dairy Dell.
Kris Wiltse’s illustrations for the “Sad” and “Embarrassed” cards from the Mixed Emotions card deck.