Wednesday, June 17, 2015

_The Hancock News_ Column--June 10, 2015

Without thinking too hard, I’ll bet you can think of something you’ve said that you regret. It is easy to allow our emotions to take over and react to somebody else’s words without engaging our brains.

I was guilty of that a couple weeks ago at a Hagerstown Suns game. My husband’s family was visiting, and since my father-in-law loves baseball, he treated our entire family to an evening at the ballpark.

We arrived a little bit into the first inning, and already a group of elementary school students were running wild all over the place. I’m sure they were excited to be on a field trip at the end of the school year. 

With these children running up and down steps and playing tag amongst all the other ticket holders, I’m sure the last thing baseball lovers wanted to see was our crew of little ones headed their way in search of a good seat.

We had no problem finding eleven decent seats together; on this evening probably half the seats or more sat empty. My husband and I sat with the younger three children while the older ones sat behind us near their grandparents and uncles.

I admit I was more than slightly worried about how we’d keep our teething toddler and preschooler content during an entire baseball game. If those elementary children couldn’t sit still for even one inning, how would my little ones manage it?

Well, it wasn’t easy, but I was surprised by how well they behaved. A cup of ice kept the baby sitting nicely on a chair by himself for at least three innings. My youngest daughter bounced from lap to lap but loved yelling, “Charge!” on cue and tasting cotton candy for the first time--Grandma and Grandpa’s treat.

While the man in front of us did get bumped a few times by little hands as the littlest one navigated between Mom and Dad, even the kind man next to us remarked about how well-behaved our children were. It was a miracle.

I was proud.

Until about the sixth inning. You know, before the stretch.

My kindergartner had been sitting still so nicely. She didn’t really understand baseball and was trying to figure it out, but I could tell she was getting bored and tired. And her foot fell asleep. I don’t even think she realized it, but her foot started kicking the seat in front of her, the empty one next to the man who’d been jostled by the little ones.

I didn’t notice until this “gentleman” started yelling, “No! No!” at her and began swatting at her foot. She had no idea what was happening as I grabbed her foot to keep it from kicking. The grumpy man turned back around and crossed his arms over his chest, not even acknowledging my hasty apology.

And that’s when I said what I still regret. I looked at my little girl who was barely holding back tears and was clinging to her Daddy, and, wanting to be a responsible parent, I said to her, “Now you need to apologize to him.” My daughter’s eyes widened in hurt and fear.

I soon realized there was no way my daughter who was hiding her face behind Daddy’s arm could manage an apology, and what’s more, after my initial reaction, I realized she wasn’t the one who should be apologizing.

This man abandoned all polite social conventions when he yelled at my daughter and tried to hit her. He could have turned around and asked nicely or perhaps asked us, the parents, to keep our child from bothering him. Had we realized, we would have gladly remedied the situation. 

I am sorry for not standing up for my young daughter, but even now I can’t think of what I could have said to that crotchety old fellow that I wouldn’t later regret. Instead, I’ll plead with you, the reader.

We were all little kids once, and none of us were perfect. Please be understanding and kind when dealing with small children, and if a child is being a nuisance, it is not your responsibility to discipline, scowl, or be nasty. Help the parent or other adult in charge by alerting us to the situation. And, above all, help us teach our children the right way to behave by being a good example yourself.


I’m still upset by the whole baseball ordeal and not feeling kindly toward that crabby man. Perhaps that’s why I chose this recipe. Then again, Crab Louis is a perfect summer meal because the season provides fresh ingredients and because there’s no need to heat up the kitchen with cooking.

Classic Crab Louis salads use iceberg lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, and real crab. The version my family eats uses whatever lettuce and vegetables we like and have on hand--it’s a regular salad bar! And we make it cheaper and easier by using imitation crab meat.

I had no picture to match this column. . . but crabs are at the beach!

Crab Louis Dressing

1/4 cup ketchup (or chili sauce)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. horseradish
1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
(I will occasionally add sweet relish or chopped green onions.)

Mix together dressing ingredients and chill until ready to serve. 

Prepare lettuce, tomatoes, sliced hard-boiled eggs, and imitation crab meat (or well-picked over real crab lumps) plus whatever other salad ingredients you like. We particularly like sliced cucumbers, cheese cubes, sunflower seeds, carrots, sugar snap peas, and bell peppers. Serve salad bar-style with dressing on the side so everybody (especially children) can create their own salad masterpiece.

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