My husband came home from college with a lot more than his dirty laundry.
He had to live on the Southern Mississippi campus this summer to fulfill the residency requirement for his doctorate. The 400-square-foot apartment he lived in last summer was in a decades-old complex that is going to be torn down, so the 54-year-old graying husband and father of two downsized to a 180-square-foot dorm room.
I think that switched something in his brain to revert to a 20-something-year-old college student. Except that he Swiffered and studied.
He was required, because he lived in a dorm, to have a meal plan. Although he complained about the cafeteria food sometimes, there were things he liked — the cookies, for one.
Toward the end of his semester, he realized that he was going to have lots of money left on his cafeteria account. So, he tried to get his money’s worth.
Every time he went to eat, he took a few things with him — an apple, a few cookies, a container of raisins for his morning oatmeal in the room.
He reported to me on his growing stash.
“I’ve got quite the collection of cookies,” he told me during one phone call. Peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, sugar, chocolate chip.
One weekend he brought home a gallon-size freezer bag stuffed with cookies.
A few days before classes were over, he realized he could buy bags of Starbucks coffee beans on campus with his cafeteria money.
To try to spend the money he’d already paid to the university, he became really generous. He offered to buy meals and coffee for his classmates.
So, he’d walk over to the coffee shop, order a round of lattes for everyone and a couple of bags of coffee to go. He also bought some of the Starbucks K-cups for my brother and dad, who have Keurig coffee machines.
When my husband got home, I saw a huge box on the kitchen table. It was full of bags of coffee — all sorts of blends and different strengths.
“I felt like I was smuggling bricks of cocaine,” he said.
What if he’d been pulled over? Is there a limit on how much caffeine you can legally transport across state lines?
I saw a big bag of apples, with a few oranges thrown in, and he showed me the bulging bag of raisins and craisins.
He gleefully pulled out three more gallon-size bags of cookies, explaining how he’d separated the peanut butter ones, because, you know, peanut butter makes everything taste like peanut butter.
We went out to eat with friends to a nice restaurant last week and came home stuffed. We thought of the cookies, though, for a little dessert and stood at the sink together and ate straight from the bag until we felt sick.
I’ve estimated that if we eat one cookie each and every day, we will run out sometime in 2016.
He can eat enough apples to keep the doctor away until he gets Social Security.
I asked my dear husband if he felt guilty about taking the food, and he said no, that he still had $75 on his cafeteria account that he didn’t use.
I hate to say it, but I noticed a little something else. His 34-inch waist looks like it might have grown a little.
The sophomore 15 is hard on a 54-year-old cookie smuggler.
I guess I should be happy he didn’t figure out how to bring the ice cream machine home.
Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or firstname.lastname@example.org.