If there is a blood pressure medication manufactured, I’m on it. Ranexa, Tekturna, Lisinopril, Clonidine, you name it. But I’ve come to find out that the cure for hypertension was sitting right at my feet the whole time: children. Pre-teens to be exact.

No, it’s not their charming nature or the fulfillment of life they inevitably bring or the high points of the philosophical considerations of mortality and legacy. It’s simply this: They hide my salt shakers.

About every fifth time I go into the Publix, I buy the hermetically sealed plastic salt & pepper shakers. I’ve got so many pepper shakers on the shelves that the weight of them threaten to topple the pantry. If I were living in the time of the spice trade, between the pepper and three packets of saffron rice that have been sitting there for three years, I’d be freakin’ Genghis Khan.

But guess how many salt shakers sit in the pantry waiting for me to add a pinch to my brussels spouts? Not a damn one.

In the south salting everything comes in second only to deep frying everything. Sure we put salt on beans and vegetables and in soups and stews like you’d expect. But I also use it on cantaloupe, honey dew, watermelon and apples. My dad even used to give a generous shake into his Pabst Blue Ribbon.

I can come home with a container of Morton’s iodized and before I’m done unloading the groceries, it’ll be gone. It’s like David Copperfield has just zoomed through my kitchen. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to find a salt shaker. It’s usually tucked into the seat cushions on the couch. I know the things exist because every time my son or daughter decide to eat in my bedroom while watching television, I have to rake out a handful of salt from my bed before I lay down. Why go to Myrtle Beach when I can get grains in my crack just by going upstairs?

I even found a salt shaker in a potted plant once. The kids swear it fell in there off the table above it. I think they lied. I think they’re planning some survivalist exercise where they low crawl through the den, sip water out of the dehumidifier and eat the salt straight out of the shaker in the plant to keep their muscles from cramping. It’s really the only explanation.

It’s gotten so bad that I have my own top shelf, private stock–a single salt shaker placed high up in the top of the cupboard where the kids can’t reach. But my wife can, which is only a problem because I think she believes the dishwasher monster must have moved to the cabinets. That’s the only reason I can think of that she won’t put a damn thing in either one. I know the origin of the word salt–that it was so valuable that soldiers got paid with it, hence the word “salary.” But here’s a note to my kids: it ain’t the 14th century, you’re not Marco Polo. Salt is in abundance now, so much so, that it’s the reason the Morton girl logo has an umbrella–so she doesn’t get hit by the salt raining down from the sky!

So take heed, kids. The next time one of you takes one of the 400 salt shakers we have and don’t put it back where you got it, I’m gonna have Copperfield saw you in half.

Sam Morton

Sam Morton

A Rock Hill, SC native and 1985 graduate of The Citadel, Sam Morton is co-author of five fiction anthologies. He holds bachelors and masters degrees in English. He is a member of The Inkplots, a group of published writers and authors active in South Carolina’s vibrant literary experience. His past occupations include a 12 year-stint as a robbery/ homicide detective for the Richland County Sheriff’s Department in Columbia, SC, a ten-year career as a professional wrestler, and one long week as the blade changer on the potato cutting machine at the Frito Lay plant in Charlotte, NC He is a freelance writer for a host of national and regional periodicals. He resides in Columbia with his wife and two children. By Sam Morton · Betrayed · Osporeni · Death Match · Disavowed · Ramblings Co-Authored · Heat of the Moment · Inkplots: Random Acts of Writing · Naughty and Nice · Buck Naked Unitarians · Black & Blue & Read All Over

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