I broke my spoon.
My Kool-Aid spoon, to be precise. True Kool-Aid aficionados don’t need to be told that the only legitimate way to mix a pitcher is by using a wooden spoon, preferably one made from birch. And such was my spoon, hand-carved by my great-great-grandfather and handed down through the generations.
Interestingly, it was first used solely for punishment purposes (Kool-Aid wasn’t introduced until 1927), as, when ordered by great-great-grampa Eustace to “go cut me a switch,” great-grampa Festus would often disappear for hours, after which time great-great-grampa Eustace had inevitably gotten into the jug-o’-shine and forgotten that there was even a punishment waiting to be meted out in the first place. So eventually great-great-grampa Eustace shaped himself a whoopin’-spoon so that he’d always have something at the ready when great-grampa Festus acted up or got into the jug-o’-shine himself.
Eventually, though, as brutal torture became less accepted as a form of discipline for children, and as our society’s addiction to Kool-Aid swept across the nation (did you know that Kool-Aid originally contained heroin? True story.) the spoon became dedicated to one purpose, and one purpose only: stirring the ‘Aid.
Every time it was used, the spoon would soak up a bit of the flavor, and in turn, add a bit back to the next pitcher. The flavorical history was woven like a rich tapestry; indeed, the spoon was as much a living document containing our familial history as it was a simple method of inducing chemical dissolution. Even so, its use caused some contentious moments. I remember the first time my younger sister used it to mix up that new high-falootin’ Oh-Yeah Orange-Pineapple crap. While the OYOP incident is still something that’s not spoken of during our all-too-rare visits (I compare the new flavors to the introduction of cousin Oliver to the Brady household, which, and I’m sure that I don’t need to explain this to my educated readers, is NOT a compliment), we eventually realized that blood is thicker than Kool-Aid*, and we carried on.
As broken hearted as I am over this, I’ll pick up the pieces (not literally; the Devil Dog picked up the actual pieces and chewed them up), and find another spoon. Maybe I’ll even carve one myself – I’ve yet to whittle on my front porch, but it’s on my list of Things To Do. A friend of mine offered to create an elaborate water-wheel type of mixer with servo-motors and pulleys and mirrors and a little bird from a cuckoo clock that would cheep when the mix was sufficient (though quite brilliant, she’s a bit ... off, let's say), but I guess I’ll always be a little old fashioned when it comes to this kind of thing. No, I’ve always been a spoon man, and I guess that’s what I’ll always be. I still remember the folksy wooden sign mounted on the cabinet in the house where I grew up:
‘Tis no sign of sick depravityI’ll miss you, old spoon.
To stroke and caress your birch concavity.
* Occasionally, when my older brother did the mixing, this turned out to be untrue, as he liked to only use one quart of water, and would add chocolate syrup (and sometimes marshmallows), so that the resultant goop was slightly thicker than blood. Tasty, though.