Slice of Life: A Tin of Anchovies

(This is a post for Slice of Life, a regular writing activity hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write about the small moments. You are invited. Come write with us.)

Eat the fish!

My middle son (16) gifted my younger son (12) with something that caused ripples of laughter throughout the last few days. The middle child works at a neighborhood grocery store, and he eyed a tin of anchovies one day as a gag gift for his younger brother. It was under the tree on Christmas Day, wrapped up tight. After all of the presents were unwrapped and with neighborhood friends over for a brunch,  and after much daring and much back-and-forth, the younger one finally got the courage to open the tin.

Eat the fish!

With all of us watching, he slowly and dramatically peeled back the foil top, stared at the little salty fishies in the olive oil and shuddered. He backed away, then backed back in, all the while being encouraged and dared by his older brothers. (OK, maybe some of the adults joined in the chorus, too.)

Eat the fish!

He did, slowly and with great fanfare, and with scrunched up eyes, and then scrunched up lips, as if he had just sucked on a salt bar. He ate it, and declared: I am never going to eat another anchovy again in my life!

But yesterday, when we had a large family gathering, he had something even better than the fish. He had a story to tell to his cousins, uncles and aunts. That’s a gift worth celebrating.

Eat the fish!

Peace (comes a little salty at times),

  1. Well you hooked me with your title! I loved this post and I hope you had the opportunity to too! Have a Happy New Year, Kevin!

  2. Love this story and love the light-hearted fun in your family. Eat the fish reminds me of Twain’s quote about overcoming procrastination, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” Maybe you can make a powerful connection about anchovies for your boys, or maybe a fish is sometimes just a fish!

  3. I love this! We had a gag gift that got passed around for years: a copy of a book entitled “Zen Driving: Be a Buddha behind the wheel”. I got it for my sister (we both got our licenses in our 20’s) and she passed it to our first niece to get her license. There were 4 nieces…. This will become a great story retold every Christmas.

  4. I LOVE anchovies, but I am not sure I would eat them from the tin. They are on my favorite pizza at the pizza place nearby and I love them in Jansson’s Temptation (a Swedish potato dish). I think now you should try to find all the ways you can to sneak anchovies into food!

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