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Martha Petteys

‘No, I am not going to do it,” I hissed through gritted teeth.

“Come on, Mom, just do it.”

“No, I am not putting a calzone in my purse.”

With age comes wisdom. With wisdom comes the realization of one’s limitations, particularly in situations involving faux leather.

Yes, I’ve read the studies about the importance of family meal time. By “read,” I of course mean I’ve skimmed the bullet points. And while we do spend most nights sitting around a table eating green things freshly harvested from the produce department and slow-roasted meat product, there are those “other” times.

Those would be the Stewart’s hot-dogs-on-the-run days.

The peanut butter and jelly-while-driving-to-work days.

The gas station calzone-while-waiting-for-the-school-play-to-start days.

“Here, eat this,” I said, pulling a mac and cheese from my purse and plopping it on the youngest’s lap 10 minutes to curtain time.

“What!” protested the big sister. “You had mac and cheese in there and you wouldn’t take my calzone!”

“The mac and cheese had a lid, and I double bagged it!” I said, handing off a plastic spoon to the 7-year-old. ”And, if you are so hyped up about it, start carrying your own purse. Then you can carry calzones around all day long.”

If on-the-go eating has taught me anything, it is the importance of one thing. No, it is not utensils. I have eaten a salad with a spoon. I have eaten yogurt with my fingers. Agreed, not my finest hour, but it can be done.

No, the most important thing, by far, is napkins. Which brings me to Dunkin Donuts.

I am confident I speak for the entire country, or at least two dozen people, when I say, “What the heck is your problem?”

I get it. You need to cut costs. Somebody has to pay for those sprinkles, but stop with the napkin embargo. I should not have to ask for a napkin like a beggar on the street.

Just go with the assumption that people eat doughnuts with their fingers. As such, unless they eat one of those weird, no-glaze, old-fashioned doughnuts, they will need a napkin at the conclusion of the event.

The other day, my kid ate a jelly doughnut. The backseat looked like a crime scene afterwards and — again — not a napkin in sight.

“It’s not a whole calzone. It’s only a piece of a calzone,” said the eldest, unable to let it go.

“Alright, alright, give me the thing,” I said, taking the dough wrap that had been conveniently expunged of all pepperoni and most of its cheese.

Two bites and it was gone.

“Hey!” she protested.

I shrugged.

“I didn’t get any dinner,” I said, turning my attention to her sister. “You done with that mac and cheese?”

Martha Petteys writes a weekly column for The Post-Star. Write to her at or visit her on Facebook.


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