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By Damion Michaels

There are many things I remember from childhood that are food related. I remember at the tender age of five, the delivery of chocolate milk in a glass bottle on a cold winter morning in Nashville, Tennessee. I vividly remember the immediate knock on the door of the Krispy Kreme delivery person, right after that chocolate milk delivery. I remember on snow days the making of snow creme. This was the magical mixture of evaporated milk, sugar and freshly drawn snow į mixed outside. The taste was creamy, magical and delicious. But no childhood memory delights me more than that of my Great AuntĖs chocolate soup.

As all "great" Great Aunts do, they pass along a wisdom and tradition that somehow is lost in the transition of generations. LetĖs see, was that the tradition delegated to a mother or a father, grandfather or cousin? No. It was my Great Aunt who passed along the secret of chocolate soup. Chocolate soup is a magical mixture that immediately enlightens the soul and creates a lifelong memory. A memory that to this day generates a smile and an urge.

Recently, one evening, I recalled this memory when my son and I were settling in for the evening. It was becoming a common practice in my household to separate our twins and conquer the "tired monster." The "tired monster" was a creature that came to life when our twins did not have a nap for that day. My wife would take my daughter and I would take our son. And we would entertain the two separately and hopefully get them tired enough to forget the "tag team" effort they tended to attempt around their bedtime.

On this particular evening, I had just changed my son into his favorite pajamas and settled in to reading his favorite Dr. Seuss book, "Fox in Socks." I always made it challenging by trying to read "Fox in Sock" as fast as possible. This impossible task always invoked giggles from my children. This particular evening, the manic reading was interrupted by my son reminding me that he had yet to have his "snack" or "treat" for being a good boy at bedtime. Okay so we read too many parenting books.

An idea immediately came to me.

"Maxie," I said with an upward inflection. "Have you ever had chocolate soup?" I tried saying in my imaginary Dr. Seuss voice.

"No daddy," he replied.

"Then tonight Daddy is going to make you chocolate soup---like Daddy had when he was a little boy." I said.

"When, when, ah when I was a little baby, daddy, I liked chocolate soup," Max replied.

"Really?" I asked.

"No," Max said sheepishly.

"Tonight, Maxie, you are going to have the ultimate snack."

I brought my son into the kitchen and shared with him the magical ingredients. LetĖs see, as I remember---two generous scoops of vanilla ice cream in a bowl and one liberal helping of chocolate syrup (not chocolate fudge į which becomes lumpy and no good). You then place a paper towel under the bowl (in case of "spillovers"). The paper towel also protects against stains, as you might imagine, since you have to hold the bowl to your chest while you stir.

My son, at this point, was thoroughly intrigued.

After getting the right ingredients together in the bowl, Max and I settled on the couch in the childrenĖs playroom. The proper vantage point for my son was in my "mush pot" or right under my arm, nestled and resting upon my rib cage and stomach.

I slowly begin to divide, fold and mash the scoops of vanilla ice cream. My sonĖs eyes got bigger and bigger and more fascinated. Just as the ice cream became softer, I began to fold in the chocolate syrup. I folded and folded until the chocolate syrup had covered all of the vanilla ice cream. My son, by now, was ready to try the concoction. "Daddy, can I try it now?" asked Max with a huge smile.

"Not yet," I said. "I just have to do the special Îwhirly mix-a-rooĖ and it is done."

Max with a giggle said "mix-a-roo" and then cracked up.

"That's right," I said as I began to mix the soft ice cream and chocolate syrup together in a circular motion. I stirred and stirred the ice cream and chocolate syrup until a fluffy brown liquid magically appeared in the bowl. I announced to Max, "Now that Max is a perfect chocolate soup."

"Can we eat it now?" asked Max.

"Of course," I replied, barely containing my own inner three-year-old urge.

I gave my son a taste and the look on his face was priceless.

So there we sat, my son and I, eating the perfect chocolate soup. Needless to say, Max loved the chocolate soup. I did too.

To an outsider, it was a trivial evening of a father eating ice cream with his son.

To me, the evening was magical. In one magical moment, I created the ultimate treat for my son. More importantly, in one magical evening, I created a childhood memory for my son and passed along a tradition.

By the way, I got into trouble with my wife for eating ice cream on the couch.

But it was worth it.

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