Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997

If Gordon Ramsay EVER Set Foot Into Our Kitchen...

          Hi, I’m Amy, Amy Young. I’ve got brown hair and brown eyes. I’d say I’m average in height. I live with my father, and mother, who by the way is a TERRIBLE cook. If Gordon Ramsay EVER set foot in our kitchen he’d say everything was “raw”, whatever that means. My Mother is unem- ployed but she’s got an interest in sewing. My father is a firefighter. He went overseas to help Austra- lia’s Fire Department. He’s leaving for a year, and all I have to remember him, is Mr. Ticklesmootch. Mr. Ticklesmootch is my stuffed animal who is obviously a pig. I got him when I was born, and ever since, he has been my support system.

          I was in the middle of a math test, that was on the last day of school, ( I mean come on!) and the classroom phone rudely interrupted it. It was from the office, apparently my mom had burnt a piece of toast, and couldn’t get out the smoke. Me, the real hero here, had to walk home and “save” her. I was walking home and suddenly- it got to me, “What about Mr.. Ticklesmootch!”


          I got to our house getting a sense of the awful aroma of burnt bread. Very quickly, I got used to the smell, especially because my parents are awful cooks. I stepped into the kitchen where my mom was standing, with a guilty look on her face. Like she was saying,


          I opened the toaster oven and told her,
          “Wow Mom, you created a new shade of black.”
          “I know!” she replied somewhat proudly.
          “Is Mr. Ticklesmootch safe?” I said.
          “That thing? Sure, he’s got some loose stitches, but that’s all” she replied.
          “Someone’s got to stitch him back, you know how it is” I started to say.
          “Yeah yeah, you get mad, and throw a tantrum, I remember.” She answered rolling her eyes.                    

          “Good,” I said. I was walking back to my room as the toast had been dealt with when my

mom shouted,
          “Say hi to Rhonda, and be nice!”


          Rhonda. When “Rhonda” sat there so comfortably on my bean bag chair, I knew something was up. “Who are you?” I said.
          “Rhonda!” she said. “Your mom briefly introduced me.”
          “Eh,” I said in a low voice.
          “Well your mom said: “Say hi to Rhonda, and be ...” she started to say.”
          “I know, I know, I meant: “Who are you” like, Why are you here!”
          “Well your mom, and my mom, were best friends in college so when my mom and dad went away, to Paris for a year, it turns out I’m staying with your family.” said Rhonda
          “I suppose that will be ok.” I said with a sigh. “Wait... why couldn’t you help my mom
extinguish the toast?” I said.
          “I’m not trained to do that!” she exclaimed. “

          That does make sense,” I said.


          I looked around and jumped on my bed. Mr. Ticklesmootch wasn’t safe, in fact, he was gone.
Rhonda! I thought. She must have done this! She was in my room long enough to have taken Mr. Ticklesmootch. I thought I could trust her. Now there’s no chance of that!

          “Rhonda, what did you do with Mr. Ticklesmootch!” I declared.
          “I didn’t touch that thing” she shouted as she dropped the book she had been reading.

          “Oh yes you did, if you didn’t touch him who did?” I shouted back.
          “I don’t know!” she exclaimed.
          “Well fine then.” I said in a voice that told her that I didn’t believe her.
          “Fine.” she replied.


          It had been three days and not a word was spoken between Rhonda and me. Until...

          “Hey, hey!” Rhonda said. She got the attention of both me, and my mom, brought to my

          “I found a passage hiding under the ground maybe that’s where Mr. Ticklesmootch is!? ”
Rhonda exclaimed. The passage was on the ground under the bean bag chair,
          I had never found it, beacause I’m not so obsevent.
          “Could be, that passage was underneath Amy’s bean bag chair since we bought this house!”
My mom Sherly said.
          “But who would have put Mr. Ticklesmootch down there?” I said sounding scared.
          “Your father.” Rhonda said re-entering the conversation.
          “True.” My mom said.
          “But why!!”
          “Maybe, he did so you could grow up a little while he was gone.” My mom said.
          “Excuse me? ” I shouted, “What do you mean by that? ”
          “Well you seem to need Mr. Ticklesmootch, so maybe he wants you to let him go.” Rhonda
said nervously. (That’s probably because I was staring at her as she spoke.)

          “That’s what I was thinking as well.” Said my mom.
          “I hate it when you’re right.” I said. “But can we look for him anyway?” “Fine” Rhonda and my mom said at the same time.
          “YAY” I said.

          My mom was so eager to go on this trip she packed grilled cheese what an exciting treat! Except the grilled cheese was black! I guess some things never change.

          We entered the passage, time to save Mr. Ticklesmootch! We were walking for a while when my mom offered us some grilled cheese. The cheese was super warm, but the bread- Yeah you

couldn’t even tell what kind it was. That’s how burned it was. Kind of sad. But me and Rhonda ate anyway, I think, it was hard to see in there.
          “Hey, mom you melted the cheese.” I said
          “Yeah isn’t it great!”She said. This started to sound very similar.
          Rhonda ended the conversation by saying we reached the end of the passage. I got excited
but nothing was there only a note. “You read it, Mom.” I said.
          “Fine.” She answered. The letter read: Hey Amy! How did the last day of the school turn out? I’m writing this incase I don’t return, allthough I do hope thats not the case! Has your mother fianally finished sewing Mr. Ticklesmootch? She was determined to do it, and finish before I came back, but who knows. I better go, your mother is yelling at me to catch the taxi for Australlia. Much love : Dad.
          “You had Mr. Ticklesmootch all this time!” I shouted.
          “Oh yeah. I do have Mr. Ticklesmootch! I forgot!” She exclaimed. In the background Rhon- da was mumbling something like:
          “She HAD to have Mr. Ticklesmootch the whole time.”