“T.V. Dinners: That’s It?”
Darrel L. Hammon
Growing up, I didn’t eat many TV dinners. I thought they were awful—awfully small for a growing boy, awful little peas that seemed way overcooked, and an awfully small piece of chicken. Thus, we didn’t buy TV dinners when Joanne and I were married. Joanne was a pretty good cook—and since has become an outstanding one—so we had plenty to eat.
One day when the girls were in elementary school, they came home from school one afternoon and asked why we didn’t ever have TV dinners. Apparently, their friends talked about the TV dinners they had at their home. I told them I didn’t like them, and I didn’t think they would either. Well, they kept pestering me about TV dinners and how their friends ate them and how deprived we were for not eating TV dinners. How bad could they be? Well, my explanations fell on deaf ears. Somehow friends are smarter than fathers—at least at that age—at least about TV dinners.
They wore me down. Finally, I looked at Joanne. All she did was shrugged, rolled her eyes, and nodded her head. The girls and I piled in the van and headed to Albertson’s, leaving Joanne home to get the oven ready for these delightful TV dinners from Albertson’s.
After finding a parking place, we climbed out the van. The girls skipped to the front doors and entered. We sauntered to the frozen foods section, and I pointed out the many versions of TV dinners. The girls took their time, eyeing the chicken, then the Salisbury steak, and some other configurations, which I have totally forgotten about. Surprise! Surprise! They chose the chicken with corn, instead of those awful little peas.
They were ecstatic on the way home, talking non-stop about their TV dinners. I attempted to close my mind and ears to this chatter. My only hope was that they wouldn’t be impressed. But they way they were going on, you would have thought TV dinners were better than their mother’s homemade cooking. Of course, I wasn’t going to bring this up at home. And I was sure they would come to their senses—at least I hope they would.
Once home, we took them out of their beautiful red boxes, prepared them according to whatever the directions said, and popped them into the oven. The girls couldn’t wait until they were done. Finally, the timer dinged. They sat around the table, and Joanne and I brought over their dinners and plopped them—excuse me—carefully placed them in front of them. With great anticipation, they cautiously lifted the feeble plastic covers, and stared. Maybe the better word is gawked at the dinners.
One of the girls said after staring gawkingly at their three little trays of stuff: “This is it. This is it!” She looked up at me with disbelief. “This is it?”
“Yes,” I said, “This is it.” And I didn’t say another word, which was very, very difficult for me.
After picking at their TV dinners, tasting this and that, they shoved the remainder into the garbage and went off to watch TV. That was the last time I heard anything about TV dinners at our house.