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Thank You, Thunderstick

It’s May in the DadZone, which means a shout-out to all the lovely ladies on Mother’s Day. If anyone deserves a special day, it’s moms. And yet, Mother’s Day can cause dads no small amount of angst.

Let’s call it the Mother’s Day Problem: What to get, for the woman who has given you the most precious gift of all?

Although I like to think I do a good job reminding my wife on a regular basis that as a mom she is da bomb, Mother’s Day still looms on the calendar like an admonishing finger: This is the day, out of all 365 ¼ (because moms count precisely, you know) explicitly allotted for you to make your appreciation known for all that she does all those other days of the year.

Pressure, anyone?

Let’s face it, it’s much easier to enumerate the things that do not make good Mother’s Day gifts. Power tools. Gym memberships. Teeth whitening strips. Season tickets to the Redskins. (Come to think of it, this abomination should not be foisted on anyone.)


But what if a Mother’s Day gift was so bad, so cheesy, so beyond the boundaries of good taste and sense, that it actually turned out to be a great Mother’s Day gift?

ThunderStick_DadZoneThe desperate dad, scrambling for solutions to the Mother’s Day Problem, lifts his miserable head. “I can do cheesy,” he says. “I can offend against taste and sense. Tell me, please, oh DadZone Guru: Is such gifting magic truly possible?” All things are possible with the ThunderStick™!

It was way too early in the morning one Saturday some years ago. My wife, Dena, and I were lazing on the sofa, channel surfing. Our rocket-fueled boys, Ben and Sam, were playing hyper-chase through the house. Perhaps our minds were not fully awake as we meandered through the channels. After all, we are highly educated adults. We take snooty pride in our graduate degrees and our good sense. We know better than to believe anything we see on an infomercial.

Is kitchen clutter driving you crazy? Counter top mixers! Juicers! Coffee grinders! They are bulky and hard to clean! Reclaim your kitchen with the ThunderStick! It packs the power of a mixer, a juicer, and a grinder, in one handheld, easy-to-clean appliance.

Did I mention our worldly wisdom? Our financial savvy? We are not fools, I tell you. And yet, and yet…

With the ThunderStick’s assortment of blades you can blend, grate, chop, juice and aerate!

A woman on TV waved the ThunderStick hypnotically as she whipped up a tropical fruit smoothie in mere seconds.

Even the boys’ mad chase game had come to a halt. We all marveled as Ms. ThunderStick effortlessly changed attachments and set about whipping up a strawberry meringue.

Dena, in a besotted whisper surely not meant for mortal ears, said, “I think I want that.”

Somewhere in a lonely corner of my mind, a voice tried to reason with me. “Don’t fall for it!”

Milkshakes! Dips! Low-calorie salad dressings! Even baby foods!

Ben started to chant, “Thun-der-stick! Thun-der-stick! Thun-der-stick!” Sam quickly joined in, a two-man conga line. If they had had cigarette lighters, there would have been tiny flames waving in the air.

But that’s not all! Each ThunderStick also comes with a mixing and measuring cup, a complete set of ThunderStick blades, and a food processor attachment!

We all wanted more! More ThunderStick! More attachments!

At the time, I was wrestling with the Mother’s Day Problem, and I had not managed to come up with a single good gift idea. But lo! Here was Dena, dewy-eyed over this miracle, do-anything kitchen aid.

The small voice said, “Sucker.” I ignored it. I ducked off to a quiet corner of the house and, feeling giddy and guilty, like I was purchasing something out of the back pages of Playboy, I secretly ordered the ThunderStick, complete with its blades and its measuring cup.

I had solved the Mother’s Day Problem two entire weeks before the day itself. And not just solved it – but whipped it. Puréed it, even.

Thank you, ThunderStick! Mother’s Day. Breakfast in bed, the requisite saccharine-sweet cards. And then—wait for it!—the coup de grace. When Dena unwrapped her present, her face lit up with a beatific smile. Ben and Sam jitterbugged with glee. “Thun-derstick! Thun-der-stick! Thun-der-stick!”

Dena asked, “What should we make first?” “Milkshakes!” shouted Ben and Sam. “Gazpacho!” shouted Dad. “Milkshakes,” agreed Mom.

As a milkshaker the ThunderStick was mediocre. As a food processor it was appalling. For everything else it was a joke. In fact, the only thing ThunderStick was good for, was a laugh. We invoked the ThunderStick whenever we needed a miracle appliance to make short work of some unpleasant task.

Dog just threw up? Sounds like a job for ThunderStick!

House guests overstaying their welcome? ThunderStick to the rescue! Although the ThunderStick is long gone, the power of its gift lives on. Its magic lay not in culinary prowess but in the formation of a shared family experience. The boys and I have given more thoughtful and tender Mother’s Day gifts, but none as rich in memory or laughter.

And the bonus measuring cup still kicks butt.

A writer and photographer, Chris Moore lives in the West End with his wife and their two sons. A regular contributor to RFM, he writes features, contributes photo essays, and for six years, chronicled true stories of parenting in the DadZone.
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