Enjoying fall colors at June and Crowley Lakes and Rock Creek while driving home after a weekend visiting my parents in Mammoth, I bought a carton of black cherry-flavored Chobani Greek Yogurt at Joseph's Bi-Rite Market in Lone Pine.
I tore off the foil top while I was still parked -- being careful to peel it away from me so as to avoid a cherry yogurt smattering -- and then I slid onto 395. While keeping one hand and my knees locked on the wheel and my eyes riveted on the road, I searched blindly for a spoon.
First, I tried the door pocket and although it had a rusty pocket knife, a mini toothbrush, a St. Christopher's medal, two San Joaquin Bank pens and 100 index cards, there was no spoon. None in the glove compartment either.
I could scoop out the yogurt with my index and middle fingers but that would be like digging the Panama Canal with a trenching shovel.
How about just tonguing the thing? I could work the tongue back and forth and then up and down as if I were licking the sides of a bowl that held whipped cream.
The problem was tongue length. I'm not long of tongue. Some men are born with long tongues, and others have short tongues thrust upon them.
If I were to use my tongue, the job would be daunting because the yogurt was seated a quarter the way down in the carton, which made the jack-hammer tongue-jab more difficult.
How about the knife? People have done all kinds of things with knives, including cutting off appendages while in the midst of a yogurt-crazed frenzy.
Revelation. How about an index card? I could fold it in two lengthwise and then use it to scoop out the yogurt.
I did, and the index card worked well. Spoons? Who needed spoons? Spoons were for rookies.
After the fourth bite, I realized there was something I hadn't taken into consideration. Index cards are a paper product, and although sturdy when dry, they do not possess the same reliable stiffness when moistened.
By the fifth bite, the index card spoon had become floppy, and the yogurt, instead of ending up in my mouth, slid off the north face of the index card like a yogurt avalanche on K2, plopping onto my dad's favorite sheepskin seats.
"Son, take care of those sheepskin seats," he said quietly when he sold me the car. "They are the best out there."
The nap is thick on these beautiful white sheepskin seats, and they are more absorbant than Brawny paper towels. When I tried to wipe the yogurt off the seats, I merely massaged the yogurt deeper into the sheepskin. If the sheepskin had still been attached to a sheep, it would have thanked me for its lustrous, aromatic skin.
I took another bite with the soggy index card, hoping the card had stiffened its resolve, but this time the yogurt plopped onto the floor, catching the side of my black Johnson & Murphy loafers, which friends assured me were slipper-like in the car and superb driving shoes.
Now I had cherry yogurt on my shoes, on the nice purple floor rugs of which Dad had been so proud, and the patch of sheepskin between my legs.
I raised the white index card in surrender and stuffed it in the plastic bag provided by Joseph's Bi- Rite Market. I placed the carton of half-eaten cherry yogurt on the floor of the back seat.
The car smells good. Like fall. Sage, aspens, dry, warm days, and cherries. Baskets of cherries.