Chicken In a Biskit, Jello Molds, and a Bad Word from the Birthday Girl


Day 24 of my 30-day writing challenge

After a late night flight to the West Coast, and a day spent celebrating our birthday girl – she turned six today! –  I’m sitting in my childhood home, jet-lagged and bleary-eyed. For some reason, I’m eating Chicken in a Biskit crackers as though my life depended on it, even though they taste nothing like chicken, and were obviously named by the same person who taught the Chick Fil-A founder how to spell.

We’re in town for the national conference of our denomination, which starts next week, and to see my mom and her husband, who still live in the house I grew up in. The house looks largely the same as when I lived here – an endearing, goofy mix of Asian porcelain dolls and Christian kitsch, primarily Precious Moments figurines and art with Bible verses on it.

Untitled collage

Contributing to the time-warp atmosphere in the house is the fact that my mother, who retains the Depression-era thriftiness of her parents’ generation – saves everything. I raided her bathroom for nail polish this morning (I needed it after my hair dye disaster two days ago) and found bottles that I’m pretty sure predate the Cold War, as well as enough hotel soap, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion to supply all the hypothetical survivors of a zombie apocalypse.

Most importantly, Mom has saved all of her Tupperware jello molds! All I need is an ambrosia salad and a church potluck, and it’ll be like I never left.


Of course, many things have changed in the past decade, as well as since I first moved away twenty years ago. My mother remarried the year after I moved out of state for graduate school, and my sister and I have also married and had kids, so the old family photographs are constantly being mixed in with new ones. The trees are taller, the house is bigger (it was remodeled several years ago), and my old bed looks smaller.

In the category of new things I could do without: My daughter celebrated her sixth birthday with a some new vocabulary. She was losing a board game to her brother, and decided to express some good-humored frustration with a word we had never heard from her before. She said she learned it listening to Spotify. Is that where the kids are learning their swear words these days?

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