Butcher Block.

Back when Mack and I lived in the little white house, we would often go and hang out with my friend Kathy across the street at her butcher shop.  Kind of a weird place to hang out, but since that’s where Kathy was, and Mack and I would often get bored we would go hang out.  Kathy is the one who started Mack drawing on the giant butcher block paper.

In its day, when Kathy’s Grandma and Grandpa ran it, the butcher shop was a complete grocery store.  As a child living down the street, Kathy’s first job, as a little kid was working the check-out, stocking shelves, etc. to help with the family business.  As years went on, and big grocery stores became the common thing, the little grocery was closed down.  The family discontinued making sausage, and selling tasty meats and cheeses.  At one point, Kathy’s brother, ended up recreating the family sausage recipe, reopening a small store front, and specifically sold italian sausage, retail and wholesale.

I still don’t remember what happened, but eventually Kathy took over the sausage making business, and the retail storefront.  Eventually, she closed down the storefront, and went completely wholesale with the whole operation selling italian sausage to grocery stores, and restaurants.  I would often get wrangled into “working” on my days off and would get compensated with a free lunch when we were done. 

When they went wholesale and everything was sold in bulk, most everything stopped being packaged in butcher paper, and they went to plastic bags instead.  We acquired a large roll of butcher block paper, and Mack was in heaven.

Now for a five-year-old to have this huge roll of paper at her disposal, and all to herself, she was in absolute heaven.  I had to try really hard to rip her away from it.  At various points her bedroom walls were covered, the kitchen walls were covered, and the living room walls were covered with various works of art that Mack had created.  We took pictures to Grandparents, to Kathy, to Mack’s Aunt and Uncle, everyone had this supersized art that she had created.  She was always trying to get me to “help” her, or to paint or color with her.  Knowing my limited artistic ability, and frustration level, I often struggled to find projects that I could actually do with her.  We would work on cutting skills sometimes, work on letters, just draw or paint, but I was trying to figure out something that was really fun to do with it.

Then I finally had an idea.  We moved the kitchen table into the living room.  We rolled several super long pieces out, enough to completely cover the kitchen floor.  We finger painted, toe painted, and regular painted the butcher block paper.  To make it even more fun, and more messy, and super delicious, we used vanilla pudding, that I colored with food coloring as our paint. 

It was a mess.  A really big mess.  It was so much fun.  Mack remembers every time we did this, to this day.  I just bought pudding cups, mixed colors for us, so we could have red, pink, green, yellow, blue, orange, and purple, used chocolate pudding for brown, and made a terrible, awful mess.  The pudding cups were great, I didn’t have to dirty any dishes.  That pudding always seems to have a little thicker consistency as well.  It was a little stainy.  Our fingers and hands were a little rainbow-colored for a while, but less than you would think, since if you made a mess, you licked it off of yourself. 

A snack and art project all in one. 



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