Now that the 2018 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Rodeo has ended and winners of each contest are being announced weekly, the regular flash fiction challenges have resumed.
This week, Charli Mills challenged writers to: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that pairs mashed potatoes with a superpower. It can be in any circumstance, funny or poignant. Go where the prompt leads.
A month or two ago on readilearn, I wrote a post titled Learning to be friends — unleash your friendship superpower. In that post, I suggested that we need to
“Help children to see that, although they may have some special friends, they can be friendly towards everyone. No one should be excluded. Everyone should be included.
Explain that being friendly towards others encourages others to be friendly towards them. Being a friend is like a superpower. It helps everyone, including yourself, have a good day.”
I also discussed some new and existing resources to support the teaching of friendship skills in early childhood classrooms.
How could I not choose friendship as my superpower, but how could I mash it with potatoes as Charli suggested?
Of course, there is the Wiggles song Hot Potato that includes mashed banana, why not mashed potato?
And there is the popular party game Hot Potato where everyone sits in a circle and passes an object like a ball, bean bag, or even a potato around the circle while music plays. Whoever is holding the object when the music stops is out, so it is important to pass it quickly, like a hot potato, so as to not be caught with it. Could the game be played with mashed potato? It could get rather messy, I think.
When I was a child, we used to play an elimination game using the song One potato, Two potatoes. Everyone would stand in a circle and put out both fists. “It” would go around the circle, bumping each fist in turn. Whichever fist was bumped on ‘more’ would be put behind the player’s back. The song and actions would then be repeated until only one fist (one player) remained.
Then, of course, there is the Mr Potato Head toy which made a comeback in the Toy Story movies.
Singing songs and playing games, including these, is always a great way to help develop that friendship superpower.
Although I’ve presented quite a mash of potato ideas, I haven’t even mentioned real potatoes yet.
If I stayed with childhood stories, I would say that mashed potato was a regular feature of evening meals with a humble serving blobbed unceremoniously on the plate. Roast potatoes were traditional for Sunday lunch and always much preferred. I never saw mashed potato as anything to get excited over, but Hub, who hails from Northern Ireland, has high praise for the champ of his younger days. Though I’ve tried, my attempts haven’t ever matched his expectations. I am surprised to see that mash is now a popular item on many restaurant menus —not quite so humble anymore, and perhaps a healthier choice than chips, which seem to be served with nearly everything.
So where to for a mashed potato superhero? Sometimes you need to look no further than the plate in front of you.
Here’s my response.
Jake pushed the plate away. “Don’t like mash.”
Mum sighed and turned away.
As Jake stared at the potato, out popped a tiny, lumpy, and obviously grumpy, old man. He shook his fists.
Jake leaned forward. “Pardon?”
“Ya always push me away. Say ya’d rather chips or roasties. Doncha know we’re all the same—inside—only outside’s different.”
“Your kind—unkindness—never do. Gotta learn ta look beyond the differences, kid. Learn ta love us all.”
“What?” said Mum, turning as Jake scooped the last spoonful of mash into his mouth.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.