10 Mar Slice of Life: The Junior Mint Slip #SOL18
I try to keep one eye on the play and one eye on him. I know he has them. He always does.
What was that? Did he shift?
I look forward toward the stage, so he doesn’t think that I am on to him.
I slowly inch my hand closer to him and open it ever so slightly.
Maybe now he will do it.
There is loud noise on the stage and my attention shifts to the action. The lights dim, drawing my eyes to the story unfolding.
Next thing I know the mint is in my hand. I turn to see him smiling at me.
He knows he got me again.
I eat my mint and take his hand in mine.
My dad always took me to see plays, especially musicals. It was our time together. Dinner, theatre, talks in the car, and the Junior Mint Slip.
I don’t know how he did it, but somehow he always managed to buy Junior Mints when I wasn’t looking. He would sneak them in and then find the perfect moment to slip the first one into my hand. He always wanted that first one to be a surprise – after that, he just slowly doled them out throughout the show.
It is funny. Out of all the gifts and events, my dad gave me throughout the years, Junior Mints and this ritual is the one I think of most often. It was a bit out of character for my dad in some ways. He wasn’t into surprises and wasn’t one to dote. He always let me know how much he loved me but wasn’t overly affectionate. I don’t mean to sell him short, but this was just sweeter than he typically was with me.
I have always been the quietest of my siblings – not shy but never one for being front and center. My dad always pushed me to shine more, to find my voice, to move beyond my comfort zone. He wasn’t one to coddle or even comfort. He was a “pull up your big girl pants” kind of guy. I think this is why this simple ritual is dear to my heart. It showed me, while he always wanted me to outgrow myself, he also saw me. The me of me. When he played the Junior Mint Slip with me, it was his way of saying to me, I love you for who you are, and who you are will always be good enough for me …
as long as you do your best, work hard, and believe in yourself. I did say he wasn’t one to coddle!
Thank you to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Melanie, and Lanny for creating this community and providing this space for teachers and others to share their stories every day in March and on Tuesdays throughout the year