Don’t Get Mad, Eat Ice Cream !

The Great Gravy Bowl Massacre

I have a vivid memory of my parents having a huge fight one night after dinner. I was 6. Harsh words, screaming, and a very scary battle made a huge impression on me. My mom always cooked a nice dinner and we would sit down as a family every night, and after dinner, Dad would say, “This dinner is fit for a King, made by a Queen, and better than Betty Crocker!”

My sister and I were responsible for washing and drying the dishes. We both preferred washing, and would fight over who had to dry. The most common complaint from the dryer to the washer was, she wasn’t flicking properly. After washing a dish, you rinsed, and if you flicked the dish, less water would remain, and less work was required by the dryer.
My parents weren’t the only one who fought.  My sister and I were only two years apart and could literally fight about anything and everything. We were notorious for our bad behavior, even fighting during Mass. God didn’t seem to mind, and if our parents weren’t there, what they didn’t know didn’t hurt us. Maybe fighting is a very typical “sister” thing! I remember Dad giving us a bath one night when I was really mad at my sister. I poked her in her belly button with my finger and hatefully said, “I hope you get an infection there and die.” That earned me a spanking on a wet butt, and no ice cream for me that night.

The reason for the “Great Gravy Bowl Massacre,” escapes me, but the memory of the incident is engraved in my brain. I can still see Mom’s gravy bowl sailing through the air, barely missing Dad’s head, with gravy flying everywhere! You wouldn’t think a half empty bowl of gravy would travel so far, but there was gravy on the walls, the floor, and covering Dad’s shirt, which Mom would have to soak to remove the stain. Afterward, I remembered Mom’s tears. She had broken the gravy bowl she received as a wedding present, all because she lost her temper and threw the bowl at Dad. The rule in our house was, if you made a mess,
you cleaned it up. The lesson I learned at 6 was, if your rage gets out of control, you will face the consequences. And suddenly I had a major epiphany: Don’t get mad, eat ice cream!

I see many people getting mad on Next Door over silly things, and wonder, maybe all they need is some ice cream! Growing up, I’d see movies where characters were so angry, they’d throw a vase at a TV. Now, they had a broken vase, a broken TV, they can’t watch, and they have to clean up and spend money on a new TV. How dumb! Did their rage make them feel better? What if they hadn’t gotten mad, and just ate ice cream?

To me, the most relatable movie anger scene was in, “Fried Green Tomatoes.” A frumpy, middle-aged housewife was looking for a parking place. A man waved to her, pointing to his spot. The woman waved back and waited as the man backed out. Suddenly, out of nowhere, 2 young girls in a red VW cut her off and stole her space! The lady politely said, “Excuse me, I was waiting for that space.” The laughing young women, rudely replied, “Tough! Face it lady, we’re younger and faster.” The angry
lady’s face changed from light pink to rage red. She sat in her car for a moment and then lost it. She was in a full blown, uncontrollable rage yelling, “Towanda!” In a demonic combination of laughter and hate, she repeatedly crashed her Cadillac into the shiny red VW over and over again. With each hit, she felt more power, relief, and laughed harder. The girls came running out and said, “What are you doing? Are you crazy?” The lady, satisfied, and exhilarated said, “Face, It girls, I’m older and have more insurance,” and drove off. This was anger at its best! But the lady flunked the rage lesson I learned witnessing the Great Gravy Bowl Massacre. My 6 year old philosophy remains today. Don’t get mad, eat ice cream!

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