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Holding It All Together – Too Much

By Amy McCollom
Thanksgiving was last week; did you overeat? I sure did. I always do. The temptation is just too great. There are too many great choices of food.  

Even though I never eat that much food in a day, I did manage to finish all of the food on my plate yesterday, and had room for a piece of blueberry pie later. I tried hard not to over-indulge, although I did feel very full. I am not going to be hungry for a good while.

Eyes bigger than your stomach too? I was raised being taught that if you took it, you had to eat it. You just didn’t waste food. It was practically a sin in my house when I was growing up. That is why I was always a little uncomfortable when served food at someone else’s house. Hence, this next story:

When I was a kid, about nine years old, we lived next door to an older couple, Millie and Carl, who took on the grandparent role for all of the neighborhood kids.  They had a big apple tree in their yard, and would always be sitting outside in their yard on summer afternoons, cutting up apples for any of the neighbor kids who would stop by and want some. They would have little birthday parties for all the little neighbor kids and word would spread by mouth and everyone would meet up at Millie and Carl’s on an evening for a little party.

One of these parties was for Little Ricky, who was the five-year old brother of our friend Brenda, who hung out at our house a lot. Brenda also had two little sisters, but Ricky was the baby who tagged along, running after us as we tried to ride our bikes and such.  

Ricky was tongue-tied and couldn’t talk plain, so his words were more like sounds, but he pointed a lot. He also was born without tear ducts, so when he cried, he had no tears, so it took a minute to realize he was crying. There was sound, but no tears. Everybody on the block kinda looked out for Little Ricky. I can still see his blonde hair, pale skin, big blue eyes, and dirty little mug. He loved popsicles and Kool-Aid, and never knew where his shoes were. But he had a smile that would light up the world. He was a happy little kid.

It was Little Ricky’s birthday party at Millie and Carl’s, and Millie had made an angel food cake, and there was ice cream, and chocolate pudding, and ice water to drink. Carl was dipping up the ice cream and chocolate pudding onto the plates with the cake, and Millie was pouring ice water into styrofoam cups. Little Ricky was smiling from ear to ear, especially when we sang the Happy Birthday Song. I think there were about ten kids in the kitchen, all gathered around the table, standing, sitting, squatting.  

I hurried and ate my big piece of cake and ice cream, and half of my pudding, but by then I was full. I knew if I finished the rest, I would have made myself sick. I had a dilemma. I didn’t know what to do with the unwanted pudding that I couldn’t finish. It would be rude to ask Millie or Carl. I asked my brother if he wanted it, but he could barely eat his own. Everybody else had pudding they were still eating. Aha. I had an idea.

Since the chocolate pudding resembled something that belonged in the toilet, I snuck off away from the group and dumped my pudding into the toilet. I was afraid to flush it in case it overflowed, so I was just going to sneak back out and rejoin the group, but when I opened the bathroom door, there stood Little Ricky, waiting to go potty.

Within a few seconds, he started moaning and crying out loudly, all upset about the toilet, and came out into the hallway. He was pointing at the toilet and jumping up and down trying to get everyone’s attention. I just kept walking away, trying to blend into the group of kids.

Millie went to check on him, and when she went into the bathroom, she screamed out like she saw a ghost!  Everyone froze. Millie came out of the bathroom, stuttering, and nearly staggering, pointing backwards at the bathroom, and yelled for Carl.  

“Carl! Carl! Come quick! Come help Ricky! Come help Ricky!!”

Carl came and saw what was in the toilet, and scooted Little Ricky into the bathroom and closed the door. From the hollering and yelling and flushing that came from that room, I can only imagine what took place in there. When the bathroom door was finally opened, Carl came out, his hair disheveled and he was holding a used wet wash rag by the very corner, with two of his fingers. He walked to the garbage can and tossed it in, then went to the sink and scrubbed his hands all the way up to his elbows.

Little Ricky finally came out. He looked clean as a whistle, but had a strange scowl on his face. His hair was disheveled too. I went up and hugged him, and I think I heard him growl at me. I have always felt a little guilty about that incident.

On a bright note, Little Ricky grew up, got his tongue clipped, can talk now, and we are still friends to this day. He says he doesn’t remember that incident at his party, and I’m thankful for that. I know I have said this before, but it bears repeating; I am sorry, Ricky. I should have spoken up before things got out of hand.  But I was nine. I didn’t have experience speaking up yet.  But now I do.

So I said all of that to say this: Too much of anything can be a bad thing. There are consequences from too much. It might not be your consequences, but it will indeed be consequences for someone. Be kind enough to care about those consequences. Speak up when you should. Misunderstandings happen. Don’t wait 50 years to clear the air about a misunderstanding. Do it now, while the moment is upon you. Time won’t wait.

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