Our stepmother Beatrice was famous for always spouting off that she and Dad never played games. This was meant as an insult to us kids because she thought we did play games. For two people that purportedly never played games, they could have been in competition with chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov.
One incident stands out in my mind and that was when Dad decided to grow mushrooms in the basement. He bought a little kit at the store and was very excited to get it home and see if it worked. Dad loved experimenting and since he also loved mushrooms, he thought this would be a worthwhile experiment. He showed it to Beatrice and then, brimming with pure excitement, he took the fungus pot to the basement.
Several days passed and Dad would check each day with great hope and anticipation. One evening when he returned from work, Beatrice had the mushrooms in her hand and excitedly said:
Look! Can you believe how gigantic the mushrooms are? It seems like it happened overnight.
Well, Dad was so happy and elated that he did not notice the glee in her face as she burst his mushroom bubble. The mushrooms she held were from the local grocery store, not from his basement experiment. Beatrice began laughing and snorting and almost fell off the couch. Dad was so disappointed and upset because she had made it into a big joke.
Not to be outdone, he waited until just the right moment to catch her off guard. He knew how much Beatrice loved Coke, no not cocaine, but actual Coca-Cola. He asked her one evening, after enough time had passed for her not to be suspicious of retaliation for the mushroom trick, if she would like a big icy glass of Coke. Beatrice took the bait and away Dad sailed into the kitchen to make a special concoction that resembled the look of a cold Coke. He mixed it up carefully and brought it to her, then patiently waited for her reaction when she took the first big gulp.
Yuck! This tastes awful! What did you do?
The joke was on her now and she didn’t like it. Dad had made a look-a-like Coke using ‘Kitchen Bouquet’ which was used as a flavor enhancer for beef. I was kind of surprised that the taste did not make Beatrice vomit.
For Beatrice to say she never played games was once again a fabrication. She played games alright. She just never followed the rules.