Jonathan Richie BW.tif

As a kid, did you ever have trouble eating? Not trouble getting enough to eat or finishing your meal, but actual difficulty getting the food in your mouth?

I often had issues with ketchup and McDonald’s French fries, ketchup would get on my shirt, my pants and once in my hair, but it was not my fault.

I find myself telling these stories to my 6-year-old niece. She finds them very funny. Of course, they’re funny to her - she gets to hear how her father and I used to raise hell while driving our parents insane, and I get to relive the fun parts then try to forget the consequences.

The consequences ended with the belt or soap in our mouths.

I have spoken to my mother and father about this, and I’ve told them I don’t hold any ill will toward them because we were uncontrollable and always deserved the punishment.

My niece has also been getting on my case because she only has one cousin. So, to keep her happy, I tell her stories about the past.

When I was visiting my brother’s house a few weeks ago, I told my niece the story of my little brother trying to eat a chocolate muffin in the minivan. By the time our mom pulled over, Josh had the muffin contents everywhere.

My older brother, Matthew and I were trying very hard not to laugh because the yelling was directed toward Josh and not us. I knew that wouldn’t last forever and the screaming would eventually turn to us.

The mess was a slap in the face to our mom because the only reason Josh had a muffin is that we must have been on good enough behavior throughout the day that we got to stop at the gas station.

I would get a cookie and a Mt. Dew. In comparison, Josh would get a chocolate milk and chocolate muffin and Matthew was in Middle School, so I don’t know what he was having, probably a slushie.

Matthew was in the front seat, while Josh and I were in the back of the minivan, a classy and beautiful 2001 Chevy Venture passed down to me in High School.

While in the back seat, I was careful with every bite of my cookie. I knew that crumbs lead to mice because Mom said so. Josh was not aware of this, but he soon learned.

Somewhere on the ride home Mom turned around, saw Josh and the muffin and pulled over.

She got out of the car, flung the side door open and saw muffin crumbs on the floor, seat, back of the seat and even on the ceiling.

My mother yelled at Josh for about five minutes then we went home.

But a couple of weeks later Josh was able to joke about it. He said he starred in “The Muffin Disaster.” Then I said, “No, Josh, you starred, filmed, wrote and directed that movie.”

And the minivan erupted in laughter.

Like many things from the past, we can find a way to laugh at even the most awkward moments, like The Muffin Disaster.

It’s funny now and I wonder how long it will be before my niece directs her first “sequel.”