“I don’t know…” said her mother doubtfully, “you’ve never tasted this before. You might not like it.”
“Oh no, Mommy! It’s so de-wish-iss! I just know it!”
“If I give you lots, you have to eat it all, even if you don’t like it!” warned her mother.
“But I love it! I want a great big bowl full!” Becky’s wide blue eyes implored her.
She looked across the table at her small daughter with a touch of amusement tinged with sadness, as she recalled the memorable day long ago when she too was sure she would love rice pudding. And then came the shock of that first spoonful, which assaulted her unsuspecting flavour buds and nearly sent the mouthful projecting across the room. The years passed, and her tastes changed, but she had to wonder… Would her little girl savour that first morsel of rice pudding and beg for more? Or would she too reel in shock as this much anticipated treat overturned her eager expectations?
Ah, to be a child again! The freshness, optimism and enthusiasm… and the feeling that one would live forever and could do anything….
That was her first taste of reality. Much to her surprise and dismay, the scent of rice pudding pervaded her subconscious for the next little while, so that even the dishes fresh from the soapy water in the kitchen sink were reminiscent of it.
Idealism and romanticism made a valiant effort the following year when she read of the goodness and obedience of Elsie Dinsmore. Oh how she had longed to be that little girl, never questioning obedience to her parents and teachers. Life was so simple then… so black and white. But alas! She was soon to learn that no one is as good and pure as Elsie Dinsmore. No matter how she tried, her own efforts at goodness had often gone awry, resulting in punishment and shame.
Elsie Dinsmore was an illusion.
Words from an old song floated melodiously through her mind…
I’ve looked at life from both sides now,
From win and lose, and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall;
I really don’t know life at all…
She glanced again at her daughter, waiting eagerly and impatiently for her helping of rice pudding.
Scooping a small spoonful into the bowl, she said, “I’ll give you just a little… and if you like it you may have more.”
© Willena Flewelling