"Can I show you something?" asked my dad.
My brother, who was probably six or seven at the time, looked up from his peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Two long purple lines of grape jelly smeared across both his cheeks.
"You need to eat from the points," explained Dad. "You're sawing that sandwich in half, and it's making a mess of your sandwich and your face."
John gazed at the two, sloppy bits of bread in his hands. "Where's the point?"
"Here," explained Dad, holding up the corner of his own toast. "Eat from the points, and you won't make a mess.
He took a neat bite. My brother did the same. The result: food in face, not food on face.
We made a big deal of these lessons, and pretended Dad had hundreds of them. We commonly referred to this one as "Dad Lesson Number 236."
My dad is a sniper of dry wit. As an obnoxious teen, I told a lot of stories of what I thought were my amazing adventures. Most people ate them up. Dad just listened quietly, smiled occasionally, and at the tale's end would quip something like, "You ever think maybe you're a little weird?"
I didn't realize at the time that was Lesson 237.
Henry and Jane now know how to eat from the points. They're very proud to trot this lesson out when Dad and Mum come to visit.
As we ate breakfast together last November, Dad popped up from the table to grab two halves of an English muffin fresh from the toaster. He held them together in one hand, smooth-side out. They immediately burned his fingers. He threw them on his plate.
"Can I show you something?" I asked.
He looked up.
"If you hold onto the smooth side of the English muffin, you maximize muffin-to-finger contact. That's why it's so hot. If you turn them cranny-side out, you'll find them much easier to handle."
He didn't say anything. I wondered if he thought maybe I was a little weird.