One of the things I always enjoyed during my time working for the Forest Service, was all the tasty snacks that appeared in the coffee room during our breaks. People were always bringing in cakes, and cookies for the staff to munch on.
Now, at 10:00 A.M. and 3:00 in the afternoon, when I go down to the kitchen and try to find something to munch on, I think back on those Forest Service days fondly.
Of course, not all of the coffee break memories are positive. There is one of the negative variety, that will always stand out. I don’t remember all the details, but I think we must have had a staff potluck for lunch, and for dessert, someone brought in a tub of vanilla ice cream, and some butterscotch topping to drizzle over the top.
Luckily, when the afternoon coffee break came around, there was still some ice cream and topping left over, so I joined the others in a bowl of the sweet and creamy treat. Ah, ice cream and butterscotch.
When the break was over, and my bowl was empty, we all took our turn washing out our bowls. There was a line up at the sink, so as I waited for my turn, I reached over and grabbed the bottle of Sunlight dishwashing detergent from the counter and squirted some into my bowl so that when my time came for the sink, I would be ready.
I stood there for a while waiting for the others to clean their bowls, and as I did, I glanced down at my bowl and noticed some syrupy golden liquid at the bottom. My brain quickly registered: “There’s still some butterscotch left in the bowl.”
Eager for another hit of the sweet butterscotch, I took my spoon and scraped out the syrup and stuck it in my mouth, but it wasn’t butterscotch.
“Uggh,” was the response when the liquid hit the tastebuds of my tongue, triple “Uggh,” It was the Sunlight detergent, and my whole mouth recoiled at the astringent taste.
I excused myself as I pushed myself through the sink lineup to the sink, explained in the panic, “I’ve got to get a drink of water.”
The memory of that acerbic chemical taste in my mouth, still forces its way into my brain, even now, decades later, every time I see a bottle of Sunlight detergent.
View my paintings: davidmarchant2.ca