Its dinner time and we gather around thick Iowa pork chops with baked potatoes and steamed asparagus. It’s a glorious Memorial Day weekend at my mom’s cabin. I reach across the dinner table to grab the BBQ sauce that came from my mom’s refrigerator. There is about 1 inch of thick liquid at the bottom of the clear plastic bottle and I wonder what the expiration date is. My brother Alan picks up my inquisitive thought and examines the top and sides. Humm, no date. Oh, there it is on the bottom, nearly scratched off. “January 2007,” he read aloud. We gave each other a smile and put the bottle back down on the table, choosing not to dispense 2007 BBQ sauce onto our 2008 pork chops.
Suddenly, mom leaped away from the refrigerator and said, “Here Deb, here is the sour cream…do you want to check THAT date? Or HERE check the butter to make sure THAT is not expired!”
What had triggered her to express her bottled up feelings about…a bottle of BBQ sauce? But it’s not really about the BBQ sauce now is it? Nor condiments for that matter. Alan noted the expiration date out loud. But, I took the hit.
Is it about respect? Tolerance? Patience? What is it really about? Honesty? What is it really about? The insecurities? The pressure to be something we both are not? If it is not about the BBQ sauce, then I guess it is a relationship issue that may never expire.