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I’m sitting here eating the last of my big bag of Ms. Vickie’s Original Recipe chips. This consumption is totally therapeutic. I needed them today. I didn’t eat the whole bag in one sitting — this time, anyway. But today is greyer than the normal shade of Toronto-grey. Maybe it seems even greyer since yesterday and the day before we actually had sunshine. I won’t say it was “springy”, since the temperature refuses to rise to spring standards. At this point, I think the weather gods are just straight out being mean. It’s May 1, for goodness sake. It’s time to frolic and smell the flowers except we’re still waiting for tulips and lilacs are a far off dream. I tried to pick my spirits up this morning by humming “The Lusty Month of May,” but it was hard to get into the spirit of the song when rain was pouring down and I had to put polar fleece on to keep warm.

See why I needed these chips? I can hear Lennie, next door, smirking at that last statement. He knows I’m totally addicted to Ms. Vickie’s. But, really, he has no leg to stand on in this department since he buys the extra-large bags of same said chips. I’ve always loved potato chips and the only way I can control my desire for them is just to keep them Out-Of-The-House. I’m usually pretty good at doing that, but, this week, temptation came knocking in the form of a $2 off coupon attached to the neck of my favourite wine. There it was, a pairing made in heaven, or at least the LCBO — liquor store to those of you not from around here. I didn’t buy them right away. I left the coupon at home so I wouldn’t be too tempted. But, then, one day last week,  I was feeling particularly sorry for myself so bought a bottle of wine with another coupon attached. Unfortunately, the grocery store was right beside the wine store so, I ask you, who could have resisted such temptation? I opened the bag on the streetcar. I didn’t care if I broke the “Thou Shall Not Eat On The Streetcar” rule. I kept the chips in my bag and surreptitiously slipped a chip out, one at a time. They were amazingly good.

This addiction was born way, way back in my childhood. When I was a kid growing up in Columbus, Ohio, my dad worked for the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, A&P for short. On some Saturdays, he would take us little kids into the warehouse with him. It was a great adventure since the warehouse was right beside the Ohio Penitentiary. We could get on tip-toes and peek out the window over the wall of the “pen” and get jittery scared just thinking about who was in there. But the best part of our Saturday going-to-work-with-Dad, was getting to eat all the goodies as they were being made. I’m sure chips must have been part of that. I never liked Jane Parker Chips. It was close to sacrilegious to say that since my father was very loyal to all A&P products. But, in reality, I knew I was waiting for a better chip and all I had to do was keep looking. When I got a little older, and started babysitting so had a little money (probably, $1.25), I’d treat my little sister, Peggy, to chips and cokes at the counter at Garner’s Drug Store. Those chips were much better than Jane Parker’s, but probably a lot more expensive if you bought the super-big box like my dad did. But, because my addiction to chips had already begun, I ate “Jane’s” chips just the same.

After I moved to DC, there were new East Coat brands I didn’t know, so it took me a while to eat my way towards finding “my” new chip. Then, one day, I bought a bag of Cape Cod Chips. They were perfect — too perfect, if you know what I mean. I could make any excuse what-so-ever to buy them — especially after I quit smoking and figured I deserved whatever little pleasures were allowed me. To this day, anytime I am in the States, I find myself drawn to the chip aisle of whatever grocery store I’m in. “My treat,” I say to whoever is with me, like I don’t really want them for myself but will get them for someone else. Last year, when my sister, Mary, and I were on Anna Marie Island, the local grocery had a special just for us. Two bags of Cape Cod Chips for the price of one. How could we not buy them? We ate a lot of those chips hanging around the house, doing Word games on the iPad and sipping good beer. Not a shabby way to spend an evening. Oh, I just love those chips too much, I think. At least that’s what one of my sister-in-laws thought. I was visiting them and she decided to help me overcome my addiction by removing the bowl from my close proximity. “Leave some for someone else,” she murmured as she took it with her to the other room. It didn’t work, I just found another source elsewhere.

Well, the chips are finished and there are no more in the house. So I guess I’ll stop ignoring the cats grousing under the table that I’m a half an hour late feeding them. Isn’t it amazing how they’ve learned how to tell time? Nick leaves all begging to his sister and just waits for the food to get on the floor. But, if I can sit here eating these chips, who am I to criticize the appetites of fat cats?  And, I promise I won’t snicker ever again at their flimsy excuses of why they should have just two more Temptations.

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