Saturday, July 11, 2015

SOME THOUGHTS ON MY DAD AND FIG NEWTON ALGEBRA


My dad used to eat Fig Newtons, not because they were his favorite but because, if hidden in the freezer behind an old carton of crystalized ice milk, they were less likely than Oreos or Nutter Butters to be eaten by his eight kids. Of course they were eaten by his eight kids, but at a rate that allowed him a  percentage of each package before Total Fig Newton Obliteration.

As children transitioned out, he moved on to flashier Strawberry and Blueberry Newtons, then ice cream Bon Bons. These were eaten at a faster rate, but by a smaller population.  His percentage share was likely the same.

I've never been good at algebra but recognize algebraic principles here, as well as principles of endurance and patience, along with the shadows of self-effacement and defeat. 

That a parent would settle for his less than favorite cookie to manage with pragmatism these tribal factors, to share and to preserve a simple personal pleasure, impresses me more than military, church, or community service. He had those bases covered too but I think more of the algebra of cookies and duty when considering the mysteries of my dad.
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