I have fond memories as a child of “sneaking” beef jerky (I know, I can’t believe I used to LOVE that stuff) from the kitchen cabinet and going off in secrecy somewhere to eat it. Sometimes I operated alone, and other times I had an accomplice. Usually my younger brother, or my friend from down the street. Some of our favorite spots for eating the beef jerky were: my bedroom closet, my backyard and the “attic” of our garage where we kept dusty, unused sleeping bags.
Of all things, why we chose beef jerky, I cannot remember. One of two different types of jerky could be found in the cabinet. The first type was flat and dry-looking. It was about 6 inches long and had a peppery taste to it. It was the kind that required quite a bit of saliva to break down the tough fibers. You really had to work your jaws and teeth, which left no time for conversation. It was a silent experience, except for the sucking and slurping sounds, which was good, since we were always listening for my mom, in case we had to hide the evidence quickly.
The second type was slim and round. I remember the red and yellow Slim Jim package and wondered who Jim was. You could actually chew them, as they were juicier than the other kind. If we were lucky, sometimes my mom bought the type infused with artificial cheese. They were finger licking-licious and of course were our favorite.
I’m sure that I “snuck” other things during my childhood, but the beef jerky brings back the fondest memories. At my friend’s house down the street, there was no sneaking aloud. My friend’s mom always had a bowl of pastel colored Jordan almonds on the table by the door. It would have been easy to grab a handful on the way out the door, but we had to ask first. We would only be allowed a few.
Now that I have children, I’ve noticed that the “sneaker” gene must have been passed down to my children. I first saw it a few years ago when my son retrieved the Easter baskets from atop a high shelf. He and his sister gorged themselves on chocolate and jelly beans. When confronted, he promptly blamed his younger sister, saying she ( the 2-year-old) had climbed the 7 foot tall shelf and grabbed the baskets.
Recently his “sneaking” tendencies have resurfaced. My son was successful in sneaking candy to a back hallway that was until recently, home to many boxes. While cleaning and organizing this area, I discovered lollipop sticks and numerous wrappers of candy canes, sweet tarts and fun-size chocolate bars. I cleaned up the wrappers, but then hid the candy while the kids were sleeping, thinking that I had solved the problem. It didn’t. In fact, he sought out new items to “sneak”. While in the pantry, I found half empty boxes of cookies and bags of mini marshmallows. Small liquorice infused chocolates that the rest of the family had deemed disgusting, were found stashed in his pants pockets at the end of the day. We sat him down and explained that too many sweets were not good for his teeth. We emphasized that if he asked permission first, he most likely could have a treat.
I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the sneakers. In fact, the sneaking will probably escalate. I’m sure in no time his sister will become heavily involved and later one of the many children who live on our block. I’ll be ready for them, as I was once a sneaker too.