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Bitter butter episodes inspire a conversion

"Pass the butter, please."

Heels went clickity click on the tile of the Vinoy restaurant.

"Here you are."

The butter dish traveled around the table and finally ended up in my hands. I picked up the knife and dug in. As I tried to spread the butter on my bread, the butter fell onto my lap and ruined my velvet dress. Oh well, I never really liked the dress anyway. I picked it up and placed it back on the knife. I tried to spread it over the bread again, but it was so hard the bread crumbled. I tried another slice of butter, but this was just as solid as the first. It landed on the floor.

Just then a waiter who looked exactly like Tom Cruise stepped in it and went sliding across the tile, entrees and all. By now my face was a dark shade of crimson.

"Sorry," I muttered, and bent down to retrieve my still-solid clump of butter. But the Vinoy isn't the only culprit. The Pepin's restaurant is just as bad ...

A waiter with a scarlet cummerbund set a bread basket at the center of our table. The butter soon followed.

"Looks good," I exclaimed while staring at the loaf of pumpernickel set neatly in a wicker basket, lined with a cloth napkin. I broke off a generous piece of bread and reached for the butter dish. I sat there licking my lips and tried not to drool. I put a good-sized piece of butter on my butter knife and spread it on the pumpernickel _ or so I thought. When I lifted the knife, the butter was still there. It was in a solid clump. I wiped my butter on my napkin and reached for another piece _ but stopped short. Remembering the scene I caused at the Vinoy, I decided to eat the bread plain.

I set my knife down and wiped my mouth on my napkin _ forgetting about the butter I had previously wrapped in the napkin. Butter was smeared all over my face and I didn't even know it. And, of course, all the fabulous-looking waiters were on duty at the time. They were all looking at me very strangely. I looked over at my mom. Her face was a bright shade of red, and she was biting her lower lip. My dad kept looking at me and then looking away again. I excused myself and went into the restroom. When I looked in the mirror, I screamed. Butter was covering my face in uneven patches, distorting my features and making me look like the Swamp Thing! It was so humiliating.

I walked back into the Pepin's dining room, my face crimson with embarrassment. I felt like the entire room was staring at me, silently laughing at me. I wished the floor would just swallow me up, protecting me from total humiliation, but no such luck.

Then a thought struck me like lightning, giving me a jolt and sending a tremor through my body. None of this would've happened if it weren't for that blasted being, commonly known as ... hard butter! This, my dear friend, calls for revenge. That troublesome terror was never going to take advantage of me again. I'm switching to horseradish.

Maureen is a sixth grader St. Paul's Catholic School in St. Petersburg.