The college son was home for a rather restful spring break last week. It was while the dude was assisting me in the kitchen putting away the silverware from the dishwasher that I learned just how resourceful the lad has become. “Did I ever tell you how I survived last summer during my internship?” Ricky offered. Our son spent nearly all that summer living in a college dorm in Washington, D.C. He worked at a securities company with about a dozen other college students from his school. “Yeah, I had one fork. I borrowed it from Barrett across the hall … and I never gave it back,” snickered Ricky. One fork? Geez, I had just assumed the dorm rooms came with some basic kitchen stuff. All the guy had to do was drop me some kind of a teensy hint and I woulda overnighted some basic kitchen equipment. His summer internship was beginning to sound like the survival show my boys like to watch with Bear Grylls called “Born Survivor” … only without the British accent. Hopefully, there would be no tales of eating animal eyeballs. I hate that part. With some trepidation, I couldn’t wait to hear what would come next. “Yeah, and I had one knife … a Leatherman pocket knife. It’s like a multi-purpose camping tool with pliers, a screw driver, a knife and some other stuff. I used it to chop veggies and to cut meat,” said Ricky proudly. “Hey, I made an entire Italian meal with the help of that knife and a $15 set of pots and pans from Walgreens.” Not exactly certain why the lack of kitchen utensils never came up in our telephone conversations, but at least I could appreciate his ingenuity. I was comforted that at least our son, the survivor, had not encountered any snarly wild animals or large furry rodents. “And I had one glass … a wine glass. I drank everything – water, OJ, milk and, of course, some wine – outta that glass,” Ricky said. Hopefully, he cleaned it in between. I decided to delve deeper into Ricky’s summer adventure quizzing him on his diet. “I shopped at the local Safeway. It was located in the bottom of the Watergate Hotel about a half mile from the dorm,” mentioned Ricky. “You would have been proud. I always looked for the bargains. Like they had 10 cans of soup for 10 bucks. Regular price was $1.50 per can. And they had instant oatmeal – buy two, get one free.” “I also bought gallon tubs of Goldfish, the cheddar cheese variety. Safeway had them cheaper than anywhere. Sometimes I used it for a cheap meal replacement. When I didn’t feel like makin’ a sandwich, I’d just eat Goldfish,” said Ricky. Indeed his diet wasn’t at all balanced. In fact, Bear’s roots and berries and animal eyeballs sounded more well rounded than what our son ate that summer. Hmm … should I assume he musta been spending all his buckage on eating out? I waited for his answer. “Once a week we ate out at this place that had 10 cent wings. You could get a full meal for $2. And if we got there in time for happy hour, we got a beer for $2.50. That’s a big meal for under 5,” Rick smiled. His grin got wider as he spoke about lunch. “Lunch was epic. Every day we went to the grocery store deli. They had daily specials on half-price subs that were delicious. Our boss told us about this place,” said Ricky. “As we were standing in line waiting to place our order, we filled up on the free samples of bread and dip. The subs were only $2.50.” When I mentioned that he musta been spending lavish amounts on cool dates with his girlfriend, Ricky shook his head. He met Kate, also a student from Michigan, that summer. Their first date was a Slushy from the 7-11 and a walk along the Potomac River. “We both had the same flavor … a mixture of strawberry, cola and watermelon. Kate introduced me to the combination. It was great,” Ricky sighed. For now, the clean dishes were all tucked neatly in their drawers and cabinets and Ricky was finished with his tale of survival. As I stood drying off the kitchen counter before flipping off the light, I couldn’t help but wonder what else did I not know? And would taking out the trash be the spark that would inspire him to clue me into the next installment of his survival story. Dixie Frantz is a Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist for the past 12 years. E-mail Dixie with your comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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