Summer mornings for weeks proved hectic around our house. Grandkids attending day camp needed to be awake, dressed, fed, and out the door with a backpack stuffed with bathing suits, towel, sunscreen, lunch and snacks.
Hailey’s last day of camp was a bittersweet one. She would soon be settling into her new home along with the rest of her family over a thousand miles away in the semi-tropical, barely-breathable Florida swampland.
Hailey requested a Nutella sandwich for lunch on her last day of camp. Nutella was never on the menu at my house growing up, but I cannot blame my Mom. The product did not appear on grocery shelves until 1964. I never bought the spread for my boys, and we did not miss it or feel deprived.
Over the past few decades the item became a staple in many American homes. The sweet chocolate hazelnut concoction is not my idea of a healthy breakfast or lunch, but TV ads declare otherwise. Or they used to. Ferrero, the company that makes and markets the stuff, paid a $3 million fine in 2012 for promoting the spread as ‘part of a nutritious breakfast’. But accepted wisdom lingers on.
I knew our jar of Nutella was getting dangerously low, but that was fortuitous planning. The jar would remain on the shelf indefinitely once the kids were gone.
I hastily gathered everything Hailey needed for camp. The lunchbox was stuffed with borderline healthy snacks. I grabbed two pieces of whole wheat bread and opened the cabinet door.
No Nutella in sight.
I rummaged around, specifically remembering placing the jar in this cabinet, on the first shelf, a couple of days earlier. I began taking out the shelf contents and placing bags of pasta, spices, rice, juice boxes, and bottles of salad dressings on the counter. Everything but Nutella.
Maybe I put it in the bottom cabinet.
I spent more than a few minutes searching the bottom cabinet, taking everything out and spreading cans and bags of food on the floor. Still no Nutella.
It was getting late. I soulfully looked at hub, busy doing I have no idea what.
“Hailey really wants Nutella for lunch today. I thought I had some but can’t find it. Would you mind walking down to Rite-Aid and buying a jar?”
Anything for his granddaughter. He was out the door. Luckily the drugstore is two blocks from our house.
Meanwhile I ply Hailey away from the TV set, making sure she is dressed, teeth brushed and breakfast consumed.
Hub returns with the coveted jar. A couple of minutes later the sandwich is made, backpack filled, and Hailey and I are on our way to camp.
Returning about a half hour later I put all the food back in the cabinets, breathe a sigh of relief and sit down to enjoy a quiet breakfast and cup of coffee.
My son Matthew walks in the door at that moment. In his hands is a jar of Nutella.
I stare at the container.
“Steph took the Nutella last night to make a sandwich for Sami this morning.”
What a relief!
I am not going crazy or senile! I recalled correctly exactly what I did with the Nutella. Both jars were safely deposited in the cabinet.
A couple of weeks later my niece visited with her two-year-old son.
“Does Noah like Nutella?”
“I love it. Eat it all the time.”
I handed her the two jars.
Now there were none. Until next summer.