When I was a little kid, like four or five, I very much wanted a puppy. I would play with the dog next door through our fence, and my parents had had a dog named Sam when I was a baby, but at the time, we didn't have any pets.
One night, we went out to eat at some barbecue restaurant or another. (There's a wealth of them here, trust me.) I'm not even sure we whether we were eating with friends or family. I don't know what I ate.
But I remember the hushpuppy.
I'm not sure at what point I was aware that the fried cornmeal was called that, but I knew the word, apparently. During the course of the meal, at which many hushpuppies were served and consumed, I managed to get attached to one. For some reason.
I decided that it was my puppy (being literal here) and declared to my mom that it was my pet and I was taking it home. Mom warned me it would rot before long. I kept it anyway. I must have had a balloon, because I had a balloon string to tie around the hushpuppy as a leash, and I took it home.
To keep it hidden from parental eyes, I stuck him under the edge of my bed, so happy to have a pet.
After that, I have no idea what happened. I went looking for the hushpuppy one day, and it had apparently run away. Or rotted, as my mom said. Or maybe fed a nice family of mice. I don't know. I don't even think I reacted.
And that is the not so tragic tale of the hushpuppy.