A baby boy born in a stable brings the cheddar

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Posted 12/22/15 (Tue)

Passing Dreams
By Steve Andrist

Arthur Steven stopped over Saturday afternoon so Papa Steve and Nana B. could occupy him while his parents and brother rehearsed for the Sunday School Christmas program.
Though not yet 2, A. Steven, in many respects, is much like Papa Steve. He knows what he doesn’t want, he knows what he wants, and if he doesn’t get it he lets you know.
At supper time Saturday, he knew he didn’t really want the cheese-filled ravioli, peas and salmon that Nana had offered up.
You could tell because the peas all went into the bucket of his little plastic front end loader, the salmon flew from the high chair tray to the kitchen table, and the ravioli pretty much went nowhere.
After several minutes of unsuccessfully trying to coax a bite or two of this or that, ideas for alternatives were in order.
Papa went straight for the tried and true, the fail safe -- cheese.
Not Velveeta or American, mind you, or even a bit of Jack.
Cheddar. Sharp cheddar.
Experience has demonstrated that given the opportunity, he’ll devour sharp cheddar until his diaper proves out the lack of balance in his meal.
Two pieces wasn’t enough.
Nor was two more.
As he was, in his distinctly declarative way, demanding more, a bit of trickeration came to mind.
I broke open a piece of his ravioli, grabbed his spoon, and scraped out some of the cheese filling -- ricotta or whatever combination of cheese product they inject into those rubbery pasta squares.
“Here’s some different cheese,” I proclaimed, a look of feigned excitement on my face.
“Try this cheese.”
Now this nearly 2-year-old wasn’t born yesterday, you know. That pale white stuff in a spoon didn’t look at all like a fist full of bright yellow cheddar.
But Papa did say it was cheese, so with apprehension and a wary glance he opened his mouth enough to accommodate a spoon full.
A couple of chews, a turned up brow, a swallow, and . . .
“THAT’S NOT CHEESE!!”
Busted.
Even a toddler can tell when something’s not genuine.
But will that skill be developed and refined over time? Or will it fade with time and socialization.
Take Christmas.
What a wonderful, meaningful holiday.
But there can be a lot of pale, white cheese product wrapped into the hustle and bustle of a season that more genuinely is about peace and good will.
Overdosing on the candy and cheese balls and snack mixes that get delivered to your office by clients and vendors?
That’s pale, white cheese product.
Stressing out over the possibility that no client, or friend or family member feels slighted in comparison to some other client, or friend or family member?
That’s pale, white cheese product.
Rushing off at ungodly hours of the day to push your way through the Black Friday crowd to beat someone else to the best gadget deals on the face of the earth?
That’s pale, white cheese product.
Making sure that your lights are the brightest, your decorations the best and your displays in place the first?
That’s pale, white cheese product.
Making sure you’ve made a comprehensive list so as to be certain you’ll get everything your heart desires?
That’s pale, white cheese product.
But in that hustle and bustle, there’s also the smile on your neighbor’s face when you ring the doorbell and sing some carols.
There’s the hug from an elderly friend when you drop off a card and a package of lefse.
There’s the serenity of Christmas music that sets that tone of peace and good will.
There’s the joy on the face of a child  who just unwrapped a gift.
And there is that best gift ever -- a baby boy born in a stable who delivers not just peace and good will, but hope, joy and love.
Now there’s the cheddar.
Merry Christmas.