I first learned to barter in the 6th grade. Myself and four or five other guys would all gather around Larry Jones' desk.
Every day Larry's mother would include a pack of Hostess Cup Cakes in his lunch. We thought that Larry had the greatest mom in the world.
Interestingly, Larry didn't much care for chocolate. We knew this. So when Larry pulled the Cup Cakes from his lunch bag, the frenzy would begin. After a while I think Larry would just say, "OK, what have you got?"
Unlike Larry, I loved chocolate. Loved, loved, loved chocolate. I could eat those Cup Cakes every day.
I quickly realized that my chances for success were dependent on what my mom packed in my lunch. So I had a challenge - I needed to get my mom to pack really good stuff every day without her knowing that I was trading away part of my lunch to get one more heavenly bite of those Cup Cakes.
Over time I learned that Larry had some weak spots. He liked Red Delicious Apples. He really liked Fritos. And, for some reason, he liked Oreos. That one puzzled me - Oreos were chocolate which Larry said he didn't like. Then I figured it out. Larry would open all four corners of his milk container and then he would dunk the cookies. Isn't that how most of us eat Oreos?
My mom was good about getting the Oreos and the Fritos because my dad liked them too. Of course, that posed another problem. Going to the pantry and finding the the chips and cookies gone because dad had devoured them. When something terrible like that happened, I knew that someone else was going to be enjoying my Cup Cakes.
I'm waxing nostalgic today because last night I did a bit of shopping before I went home. As I stood at the check out counter, I saw them. I was less that a foot a way from them - Hostess Cup Cakes! It was just a couple of years ago that Hostess shut down. About a year later Cup Cakes were back on the shelves. And this morning, while having coffee I enjoyed bite after bite of my Cup Cakes. I tried to eat them slowly so that I could savor every single bite.
Just like the good old days.