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The Big Announcement

The show kept interrupting the announcement of winners with fluff. Maybe it wasn’t fluff, but compared to the important thing—had our son won the Best Chef, South award from the James Beard Foundation?—it was as insignificant as a wart on a frog on a log at the bottom of the sea. Finally, the MCs rolled out the names of the nominees in our son’s category.
The boy hurtled through the front door. He’d been playing in the yard. The boy loves trucks—dump trucks, firetrucks (of which he owns three), backhoes (he can tell you the difference between the backhoe and the front-end loader), and garbage trucks (beep! beep! beep!—in New Orleans, the garbage service’s motto is “Business stinks, but it’s picking up.”) The fenced-in yard, no bigger than a ping-pong table, is an excellent place for the boy to play, with his grandparents peeking through the window at him.
In between peeks, seems the boy had experienced an accident. This was his big announcement: “I peed all over myself in the yard.” He’s almost three years old. He’s going through potty training. He’s doing a really good job, except when he’s not.
He trudged into the bathroom. While the famous people in New York were announcing the winners of the cooking world’s most coveted prize, he was saying, “Man, this is terrible.” Tugging down his long pants and his pull-ups, he stepped out of the sodden clothes. While his Gandy whooped in the living room, the boy was standing over the toilet, observing, “It won’t come out.”
“Maybe,” I said, “because it’s already come out.”
Naked (the shirt was soaked, too), he made his way back into the living room where he sat with his little brother on the sofa so his Gandy could rerun the video of his dad’s acceptance speech. There, at the very end, was the tiny red race car the boy had given his daddy for good luck. In front of all the foodie world’s heavy-weights, the boy’s dad held up the General Lee race car and thanked the boy for the good luck charm. It had worked. The boy’s dad won. The boy pointed at the computer, his eyes alight: “That’s daddy!” Then he slid into his high chair, naked bottomed, and asked for some toast.

James Beard awards, James Beard Best Chef award, James Beard Foundation, potty training

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