I’ve had what other more abstemious types might refer to as a mild addiction to sugar and butter and cream and vanilla – in caramel form – ever since I can remember. The Wilson’s Caramels of my youth, the Abbott’s Caramels of my adopted home state and the Krowki of Calgary (via Poland).
I was standing by the bulk candy bins at Lina’s Italian Market a few years ago, when my eyes fixed on red, yellow and white paper-wrapped rectangles with a picture of a cow and my three favorite words in the English language: Luxury Cream Fudge.
I scooped a few pieces into a clear plastic bag – not too many, in case they turned out to be bad – and when I hopped into the car-van, I ate a piece and knew my caramel dreams had come true.
In the weeks and months that followed, I devised all manner of excuses to drive to out-of-the-way Lina’s, to buy increasingly fuller bags of Krowki. ‘Fortunately’ [for my waistline and wallet] I developed this intolerance to lactose and found myself unable to eat a bag without writhing around in pain afterwards. That stopped me, for a while.
But a couple of Fridays ago, I found myself in the vicinity of a Polish grocery store a couple of friends had told me about. I went inside ‘just to see’ and walked out with a bag – or three – of luxury fudge.
All in the name of coercing young Percy to take his toilet training to the next level – the second level – as it were. Yes, one week after operation no-more-diapers began, he was having great success; emptying his bladder in the designated receptacle entirely on his own. But as for ‘the other’ well, he’d pretty much gone on strike in that department.
Despite our watchful eyes, sending him to the potty a million times a day, and one or five idle threats, there was nothing. For three or four days.
But then, I let him have a Krowki. ‘Can I have another one’ he asked. ‘If you go on the potty,’ I bartered. And, many minutes later, he made the necessary deposit to receive the coveted piece of luxury cream fudge. It was a glorious moment with much rejoicing as we thought the Great Standoff of 2012 had finally come to an end.
‘The power of the Krowki,’ I patted myself on the back for stumbling on the one thing that could elicit the cooperation of Percy’s bowels.
We even went to a nearby playground to celebrate. While the sun set on a glorious Friday afternoon, we climbed and slid and kicked a soccer ball. All of a sudden, Percy stopped in his tracks. ‘I peed’, he announced. A little too late. We’d only been there for a handful of minutes, so rather than go home we – somewhat ingeniously – put his pants on inside-out. (This may or may not have been during his I-refuse-to-wear-underwear phase.)
We continued our merriment while Percy ducked behind a counter, ostensibly to make cookies. When he finally emerged he smelled entirely un-cookie-like. ‘Did he…..?’ I asked the professor. The professor checked. ‘Yep.’
‘Okay, we’re going home,’ we rounded up the troops. Abruptly.
Suddenly, the ‘power of the Krowki’ had an entirely different meaning.