Where are my pickle forks?

March 6, 2024


Allow me to reassure all mothers of young children that you aren't going crazy. There isn't a ghostly haint pilfering your silverware. The disappearing Oneida isn’t being sucked into a dark vortex for use at alien dinner parties. 

The vanishing utensil phenomenon is real, yet the cause is hard to believe. As a seasoned mother of two grown sons, I advise you to sit down for this shocking news. 

The truth is, your precious children are responsible for the disappearance of every spoon, fork, knife, and slotted vegetable spoon you've ever owned. Yes, the innocent-looking small people in your house with crooked grins and fists full of the neighbor's flowers have been pilfering the Christofle. 

They're not purposely stealing the silverware but are instead letting you know it's much more convenient for them to deposit it anywhere else in the world rather than your own kitchen sink. How could you not understand that the backseat of the car, the library drop box, and the bottom of the neighbor's swimming pool are all much more practical places for your wedding gifts? How dare we limit their creative little minds by insisting they place spoons in the dishwasher?

In all fairness to our local children, this penchant for the willy-nilly flinging of flatware can be blamed, in part, on genetics. Ancestors bred in them the innate need to hide the silver from the Yankees. A quickly dug pit behind the smokehouse, four paces to the East, one step North, marked the location where Grandma Scarlett hid her shiny spoons from the no-good Union Soldiers and Carpetbaggers. It was so traumatic that generations later, little belles and beaus are inherently programmed to protect all silvery items and run the livestock into the hills. Bless their hearts; they can't help it. 

My sons preferred to have snack time in the treehouse and cleverly waited until I was distracted by important tasks like arranging my strands of pearls by diameter and length, stitching a pithy saying on a pillow, or spending time in prayer, so they could slip out, undetected, with their dishes of yogurt, ice cream, or Froot Loops. Since they were raised right, they took the Julliard along to set a proper tree-house table. Going through my green-earth phase, I had rid the house of all mean-spirited plastics and sad paper plates, so what were the darlings supposed to do? 

At first, the tablespoons were missing. "I'm sure we had more than three spoons," I told my husband. He brushed it off by saying, "They're probably in the dishwasher." We forgot about it, but then, on Christmas Eve, we realized our Gumbo spoons had vanished. Over a decade later, we learned they were just the right size to use as "diggers" for a man-made creek being installed in the backyard, yet another surprise for us. The statute of limitations kept me from choking my offspring.

It was revealed my forks were launched at squirrels, with extra points awarded for making them chatter and shake their tails. Knives were used as screwdrivers, and by using advanced-level interrogation tactics, I finally learned that my pickle forks were just the right size for tiny pirate figurines to use as harpoons in the neighbor's mud puddles. Ah-ha! I wasn't losing my mind. I knew I had pickle forks somewhere! 

I would only deliver this bad news by balancing it with something positive. And that is, with heaps of encouragement and hinting, grown children can learn to gift you with new utensils on every gift-giving occasion. Unwrapping a new set of teaspoons can be heartwarming to the mother and bring loads of guilt to the grown children, which is always a fun payback activity. Metal detectors can also provide a spirited afternoon of competition with the "find the flatware" game. And if you think this is all convoluted, wait until I explain what's really going on with all those missing socks. You'll most certainly gasp. 

This story first appeared in Lagniappe News, Alabama.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Discover more from Leslie Anne Tarabella

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading