Jun 012014

One of the earliest Uncle Roy Storiestm we told our kids was the story of Uncle Roy and the Waffle Iron. The in-laws had a tradition of Sunday breakfast and in keeping with that tradition every weekend we would mix up a batch of batter, break out the waffle iron and all have a nice breakfast at the table.


Not when its eyes are doing that!

This would inevitably lead to stories about those Sunday breakfasts. Sometimes there would be occasional details, a quirk of one of their houses in Holland, a neighbor’s dog in Texas, or the many and varied hijinks of their own pets. But there were certain details that never changed. Grandad would mix up the batter from a recipe in The Joy of Cooking and cover it with a cloth while they went to church. They would return in all their Sunday finery to sit at the table and enjoy the meal. All very idyllic. This, however, is where everything would start to break down. Their first tactical error was keeping the waffle iron at the table. There is an undeniable logic to this because it saves someone having to constantly get up to make new waffles. It’s all right there. But so is the family – and Roy.

If your family is anything like ours you may not have any kind of assigned seating at the table but inevitably people fall into patterns and generally take the same seats at each meal. Perhaps you eat breakfast in one spot – but always in that spot. The same for lunch and dinner. Once our kids had been freed from any kind of toddler seating restraint, the high chair, the booster, etc. we went through a period where they were demanding to sit in certain places. Our daughter, for example, ALWAYS had to sit next to Merran – and let the neighbors know if she wasn’t pleased with the seating arrangements. It’s a child’s little way of trying to control and shape their world and, frankly, not worth fighting over.

Well, the same was true of Merran’s family; they each had their spot and for some reason Roy’s was right next to the waffle iron. Grandad kept it near him because he was the waffle maven but no matter what side of the table he put it, Roy had to be next to it. Every week they would ask the same question, “Roy, do you want to sit somewhere else?”

“No, no, I like it here. I’m good.”

I should say at this point that Uncle Roy has a unique way of speaking, a kind of slow drawling cadence that’s very infectious. He has a way of drawing out certain syllables:

“Daaaang, nooobody talks like that.”

“I’m gonna give him one’a theese.”

Daaaang, that smells like Daaawwwgs.”

It’s a lot of fun once you get the hang of it. So every week they would ask the same question, “Roy, do you want to sit somewhere else?”

“Naaw, naw, I like it here.”

He would sit down, and within one minute would touch his elbow in the same spot, in the same way, every week, to the hot waffle iron.

“AAAAAAAAAAAAA! The waffle iron burned me! AAAAAAAAA!”

And he would go running off. Angry that the waffle iron had the effrontery, the unmitigated gall to burn him!

The kids love this story even after listening to it again and again for almost ten years. And it’s why we never take the waffle iron out of the kitchen.

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