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Macaroni and Cheese
by Eric Miller

Four year old Andrew Mack was getting antsy. He was hungry, his mother wasn’t home, and his babysitting grandparents said he had to wait for lunch, because they all were going to a restaurant as soon as his mother returned.

“I want my lunch now,” Andrew proclaimed in his infamous todderly tone of disagreement.

“I think I hear your Mom’s car as we speak,” his grandfather said, with his hand cupped over his ear.

“I don’t hear her car,” Andrew replied.

“You’re not listening carefully enough,” his grandfather said. Cup your hand over your ear like this, stand on the front porch, and concentrate.”

“I still can’t hear her car,” Andrew announced, pouting prodigiously.

“Yes, she’s coming. I hear her car, but it’s still kind of far away. It sounds like she’s near the supermarket. So, she won’t be long now. Can you hear her now, Andrew?”

“I think so. Which restaurant are we going to?”

“Well, why don’t we make a list of all your favorite ones, and then pick your most favorite?”

“Rocco’s is my most favorite. We don’t need to make a list.”

“Rocco’s it is. And guess who’s home?”

“I want macaroni and cheese, and, uh, French fries, and lemonade, and chocolate ice cream," Andrew stated with utmost certainty.

“His diet is so bad!,” groaned his grandmother.

“Andrew, you can’t have lemonade and ice cream, just one or the other. Which do you want?,” his mother piped in, with appropriate authority.

“Uh, I want ice cream!”

“You can have water, but you can’t have French fries. They don’t go with mac and cheese,” his mother stated with the sagacity of a graduate from the Culinary Institute of America.

“They go,” Andrew whined, as he gave his pre-meltdown look, but the feared tantrum misfired and all seemed well. Becoming more agitated as the seconds ticked away, he cried: “Where’s my macaroni and cheese?”

“The chef has to make each noodle, one at a time, and he has to cook them in hot water, and he has to rub the melted cheese on each noodle, and that takes time,” his grandfather said.

“I want it now," Andrew screamed, banging his spoon on the table.

“Listen,” his grandfather said, “the noodles are hollering in the kitchen, hopping up and down in the hot water trying to get out of the pot, but the chef keeps pushing them back in.”

Andrew looked at his grandpa with just the hint of a smile, then instantly snarled: “It’s time for them to get out of the pot and come here.” He put his head on the table and began to whimper.

“Hurray!,” Grandma and Mom cheered. “The noodles are coming!”

Andrew threw his arms up with glee. A second later he shrieked: “They’re too hot!”

The steam subsided as his mother, his grandmother, and his grandfather stirred, fanned, and blew. Andrew’s spoon finally rose to his mouth, his smile radiating everywhere, the same place his noodles were going.