One day when I was a kid, my father asked if I wanted to try something new for lunch. “Sure”, I said, wondering what he had in mind. He happily retreated to the basement and returned with a coffee thermos. I watched amazed as he filled the thermos with boiling water and dropped a frozen hot dog into it.

That morning I arrived at school balancing the special thermos and a backpack full of books. Soon the lunch hour began. I gently placed the thermos on a cafeteria counter and took a seat.

I cringed under the frightening possibilities upon opening this Pandora’s Box of lunches: Will the thermos be pressurized, rocketing the hot dog into the air, in turn provoking a massive food fight?

Regardless of the consequences, I was hungry so I courageously popped the lid. Luckily for my young and fragile ego, nothing drastic happened. The hot dog bobbed up and down like a drowned sailor. I tried removing it with my hands, but could not get a good grip- water made it slippery. Finally, with the assistance of a spork (that notorious cafeteria utensil), the hot dog sprang from its watery abyss. It appeared edible, as steam rose from my lunch tray, catching a classmate’s attention. He gave me a look that said, “Is that your lunch or a science experiment for next class?

Alas, my father neglected to include a bun for this strangely packaged hot dog. Reluctantly I slid the naked piece of meat down my hungered throat, all the while yearning for one of Mom’s lunches: a nice, neat peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread, a homemade cookie and crackers and milk- packaged in a brown paper bag. Don’t get me wrong; I love my father dearly, but now I understand why we so often say: moms make the best lunches.

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