The year was 1979 and my sister, Erica, and I had been invited to eat breakfast with our grandparents at a hotel in Miami, Florida.
We weren't especially close with them but she and I took advantage of the opportunity, as it was immediate relief away from our parents.
While we waited for our breakfast to be served, our grandparents engaged us in small talk, where my sister and I complained about how mean our parents were because they never let us drink hot chocolate.
Finally, breakfast arrived at our table. My mouth was drooling as I stared at the plate before me...a decent sized stack of pancakes, smothered in gooey syrup and fluffy whipped cream. The waitress set a steaming mug of hot chocolate next to my plate, as I watched 5 mini marshmallows bob happily at the top.
My sister brought her mug up to her lips and immediately yelped, "Ow, this is hot!", as if she somehow hadn't seen the mist of hot steam rising from the mug.
"Why don't you start on your pancakes while your hot chocolate cools off," our grandmother suggested.
We began digging into our stacks of pancakes and shoveling fork after fork of syrupy goodness into our eager mouths.
Erica began to dip her finger into her hot chocolate but our grandmother warned, "You need to wait just a few more minutes. I still see steam rising from your mug".
The small talk continued...what were we learning in school, who were our best friends...the usual crap that grandparents want to know.
In between bites of my breakfast, I stirred my hot chocolate, as the marshmallows melted into a creamy white swirl along the top.
My sister continued to eye hers with avid anticipation, just waiting for that moment for the little cloud of steam to dissipate.
Finally, after what felt like an eternity to young children such as ourselves, our grandmother announced, "It's probably fine to drink your hot chocolate now."
Our grandfather had just shoveled a forkful of scrambled eggs into his mouth, as he said, "Go on...your grandmother said you can drink it now."
And that's when it happened.
My sister frowned as she peered into her mug.
There, floating at the top of her hot chocolate, was a tiny smidgen of scrambled egg, which had flown out of our grandfather's mouth as he spoke to us.
I kicked her under the table, teasing her, "Well, aren't you going to drink it?!"
She kicked me back...hard. "Uh, no...I'm kind of full from the pancakes," she answered.
"You've been anxious to drink that hot chocolate since the minute the waitress served it. Go on, drink it," our grandfather commanded, spitting another piece of scrambled egg onto the table.
Our grandmother said, "Well, at least take a few sips. After all, we are paying for it."
My sister clutched her belly and complained, "My stomach is really full."
"Is there something wrong with your drink?" our grandfather asked, a piece of crusted scrambled egg barely balancing on the outer corner of his mouth.
"Uh, no. It's fine. I'm just full, really," Erica insisted.
After a few minutes, we left the restaurant and as we walked ahead of our grandparents to their car, my sister remarked, "Man, that sucked. I really wanted that hot chocolate, too. Did you see that big hunk of egg he spit into my mug?"
"Yeah," I answered. "Totally gross, huh?"
And that is why, even to this day, I can't drink a mug of hot chocolate without thinking of that incident.
Also, probably the reason why I drink it AFTER a meal. Because you never know when someone's going to spit in your hot chocolate.
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