Growing up, gifts were important to us. We didn’t have much money; it was the thought that counted. My parents’ birthdays and Mother’s Day and Father’s day were particularly important.

That’s where the liquid powder comes in. I was nine or so, scrounging around the house for something to concoct for her, or some forgotten item that would delight when wrapped. I noticed her powder that always sat atop the toilet tank in her and Dad’s bathroom. It was that old fashioned kind of powder, with the wide bowl and powder puff, and a fancy plastic top with a gaudy plastic handle sticking straight up out of its center. I removed the top, smelled the powder, and noticed the powder dust right away.

That’s a shame, I thought. Powder would be so much more efficient if it were liquid. Within moments, riding a wave of creative frenzy, I was in the kitchen, stirring her old fashioned kind of powder into a stew pot with a wooden spoon. Small clouds escaped the stew pot, and although I hurried, I didn’t make it in time. She turned the corner, and, like a flash of lightning, my sanity returned to me.

The details of the next few moments evaded both of our memories soon after, and the joke of the liquid powder became an indelible, delightful gift to both of us. We remember only my mom holding me by one arm as we ran in circles, she trying to catch up with me to paddle my behind, and I determined to outrun her. Eventually the circular chase melted into laughter, and we chuckled about it often for decades to come.