Pumpkin Pancakes and Ketchup

It started out quite innocently.  My son, Zach, and I headed toward Denny’s to taste one of the many pumpkin products that pops up, like Toaster Strudel(which, by the way, has its own pumpkin variety!) this time of year.  We’ve already sampled our way through pumpkin spice coffee, pumpkin pie spice coffee, pumpkin spice creamers to go in the pumpkin spice coffees, pumpkin spice cookies, one with white chocolate chips, the other with cream cheese chips, all while breathing the delicious aroma of a pumpkin pie spice candle aglow on the coffee table, smelling so delicious I could almost taste it.

So, when Denny’s advertised Pumpkin Pancakes, we were in.  Even though pancakes are traditionally eaten for breakfast, I prefer to eat them later in the day, where the cumulative effect of copious carbs and sugar are less detrimental to my cranial functioning and capacity. Otherwise, if I eat pancakes early, the rest of the day I resemble a post-apocalyptic zombie, which is fine if it’s Halloween.  Oh, I forgot, it was Halloween.  See what I mean by diminished cranial capacity?  Still, I had to pick my husband up at the airport later, so must keep my wits about me.  Late afternoon was the perfect time for me to try these seasonal pancakes.

I hadn’t been to Denny’s in a long time, so I was anxious to experience that special diner ambience, again.  This nice young man seated us at a booth.  There’s something about a booth–so cozy.  Made me wish I had one in my dining room, except I couldn’t figure out where to put the TV trays.  Without hesitation, I announced my order, “Pumpkin Pancake Breakfast, please”.  “Do you want bacon, or sausage, or both?”  “Both, of course.”  Zach’s original intent was to also order the Pumpkin Pancakes, but the minute he spied that huge, cheesy, platter of nachos pictured on the front page of the menu, it was love at first bite.

Zach still wanted a “taste” of the Pumpkin Pancakes, however.  So, after placing our order, he negotiated a deal.  He’s become quite the bargainer.  I’ve taught him well.  Here’s the deal, I give him one of my pancakes, and he’ll give me “a” nacho.  Whoever heard of eating one nacho?  But, believing the trade would work toward the greater good of our relationship, and the lesser girth of my waist, I reluctantly agreed.

While waiting for our food to arrive, we listened to some great music playing in the background, including “Ballroom Blitz”–I’m still humming that one today.  Soon, our food arrived. There were two pancakes.  I carefully placed the top pancake on the extra plate I’d requested in anticipation of Zach’s deal, and slathered it with a huge portion of cinnamon-laced butter, as if the pancakes weren’t rich enough.  I figured I could spare some even though this was not part of the “official” negotiations.  Besides, there was least a half cup of this glorious concoction resting atop the pancakes, like a creamy, yellow crown.

Dutifully allocating the pancakes, one for me and one for Zach, I went to work on the rest of my meal.  First, I salted and peppered my eggs which were cooked perfectly over-medium.  Then, smashed them with my fork, just the way Grandpa Fred used to do.  Next, on to doctoring the hash-browns.  A little bit of salt, then I reached for the ketchup, formerly dubbed “the slowest ketchup”.  No truer words were ever written, except for the Bible.  I swear I heard Carly Simon singing “Anticipation” in the background.

After shaking it, I opened the lid, and carefully squeezed the bottle, not wanting any of the ketchup to find its way onto my festive, one-of-a-kind Halloween sweater.  Nothing.  Thinking maybe this was a new bottle, I tried to unscrew the lid, and remove the safety-seal.  Forget the safety-seal, this cap wasn’t budging.  To the rescue came my Knight-In-Shining-Armor, the Great Negotiator, my son.  Zach carefully inspected the bottle, and began shaking it, as only a strong, young man can do, and disregarding the feeble attempts of a middle-aged, menopausal woman with a bum-thumb.

Zach turned the bottle upright, opened the lid, and, quicker than a Hawaiian volcano, ketchup spewed forth out of that tiny hole, smacking him right in the middle of his glasses, which he’d thankfully worn, instead of the usual contacts.

For a brief moment, we stared at each other, speechless over what had just happened.  Then, as I looked at my son’s pitiful eyes through ketchup-stained glasses, we both simultaneously burst out laughing, and kept on laughing the rest of the day.

Zach, since the ketchup just missed your armor, you’re still my go-to-knight.

And, the Pumpkin Pancakes, by the way–the bomb!