By Bill Williams

It was about 80 years back when I came face-to-face with the old reliable treasure – peanut butter.

I would have been about five or six and one of the neighbor’s little girls was having a birthday party. She was a cutie with curls.

She was the same little dumplin’ that I had told a buddy in school one day that I would kiss her if he would.

He would and we both did. All resulting in a trip to the little boys room, sent there by Mrs. Shive, our first-grade teacher. She told us to wash out our mouths because kissing is not very sanitary.

Anyhow, a little later, there were about 20 of us first graders gathered to honor that same little girl upon reaching that treasured mark of being six years old.

We got around to playing the game Spin-the-Bottle. That’s where all the little kiddies sit in a circle and one is selected to spin a bottle until it stops and points its little snout to one of the miniature-bottle veterans.

Well, it pointed to me and I almost had to fight off Cecil Paul Earnhardt because he thought it had pointed to him.

I had heard about these parties before and their reputation was obliging. You got to kiss the girl – or boy, if that was the way things stacked up.

At that age, everything was a surprise, and what happened next was as big a surprise as if Cinderella had sprung from the clothes of that other little girl.

Once the door to the closet was closed, Frances reached into her pocket and brought forth a neatly wrapped package that held a…peanut-butter sandwich.

It wasn’t very dark in that room but I didn’t need light to identify the slow-burn that ordained my freckled face.

I didn’t waste any time in getting out of the closet and going home where my dog Jack gave me a “woof” and a lick and tried to make things better again.

From that day until recently, I have watched other people eat peanut-butter sandwiches and wondered how they could keep that stuff down.

I have turned down enough peanut butter that I could write a thesis about.

My wife loves peanut butter; so do all of our five kids and those nine grand kids and one great-grand-kid, I suspect.

And now, so do I.

There was no cajoling, no promises, no bargains.

“What about a little peanut butter today?” my wife asked one day recently at lunch.

“Okay,” I said.

She put a little on a cracker and handed it to me, pushed by a smile.

“Dang!” I said. “That’s good.”

Looks like good times ahead for me.