Finnegan strolled into the kitchen. A concerned look rested quietly on his face, but did nothing to contain his positive aura. “What seems to be the problem?”
Tully briefly glanced toward Finnegan before turning his attention back to his son, who was sitting on the floor and sobbing with a bowl of pancake batter cradled in his lap. “Connor accidentally -”
“I RUINED THE PANCAKES!” Connor held the batter bowl out towards his grandfather. Cinnamon was heaped on top of the batter in clumps – not quite enough to render the pancakes unsalvageable, but enough that calling it “too much” would be a polite understatement. “Now we can’t have breakfast, and it’s ALL MY FAULT!”
“Ohhh… Shh, shshsshhh… It’s okay, look, listen to me. I know this looks bad, but when a door closes, a window opens. If you just look at this from a different angle…” Finnegan paused, noticing Connor’s eyes start to glaze over. “…and you don’t believe me. Fine, you twisted my arm. I’ll prove to you that disasters can turn to opportunities.”
Connor sniffled a little, calmer – but still upset and a little incredulous. “…how?”
“By telling you a secret not even your Dad knows.” Finn paused. “Cover your ears so I can tell the boy the secret, won’t you Tully?” Obediently, Tully covered his ears. He could still probably hear what was being said, but Connor didn’t know that. “…There’s a super-duper secret book of family recipes passed down throughout the McClydes, one that only the best chefs in the family get to read. If you can invent a recipe special and wonderful enough, it will get added to the book, and then you get to keep the book and choose who gets it next.” He grinned, Connor was enthralled. “And wouldn’t you know it, you happen to have accidentally finished the first step to making my entry in the book: Finnegan’s Super Special Ultra-cinnamon Maple Pancakes!”
Once more, a sparkle flashed in Connor’s eyes, the sort of excited sparkle that only a child hoping to be like their hero could have. “…really?”
“Of course! I’ll even make an exception just this once, and teach you how to make these pancakes. I just need you to leave the kitchen for a little while, so I can check the book in private.” Finn paused. “Oh, and don’t worry about your Dad. I’ll chase him out after I make him show me where everything is.” He watched contentedly as Connor practically dropped the bowl of batter to the floor, then dashed out of the kitchen and upstairs to his room.
Tully smiled and took his hands off his ears. “…There is no secret book, is there?”
“No, but – spoon please – give me a few weeks to scavenge through all the family recipes scribbled on paper throughout our old house…” Finnegan scooped out some of the cinnamon, then tossed it and the spoon into the sink where Connor wouldn’t notice it. “…and there will be.”
A note from the
Finnegan was the sort of parent that wouldn’t get mad if his child came home from school sobbing because they were being teased for still believing in Santa. Instead, he’d simply visit the school – and convince all the other children that Santa was real too.