Ella has this little habit that only the most blissfully uninhibited enjoy.

She … um … she pokes around at the bears in her cave. She doesn’t care where or when. We’ll be talking to the neighbors and Ella will wrinkle her nose a little, and pretty soon the first joint of her pointer will disappear up her nostril. Or we’re sitting down to dinner, maybe to meatballs and spaghetti, and Ella decides its time to fish for boogers.

I’ve never seen her pull one out. She just roots around, rearranging them until it’s comfortable. Maybe they just stick to the sides and a good prodding rolls them out of the way. I’ve never seen her eat one.

Not yet.

I’m expecting it any day.

As soon as she finds out how warm and salty they are.

Did you do this? I mean, as a kid. I mean as a pre-30s kid, when you could still fit comfortably on a Big Wheel. I don’t mean now, as if you’re one of those people who lets a pencil, eraser-end first, slide up your nose during meetings. And I don’t mean when you dig around with the end of your thumb and roll out a booger. Some adults still do that. It’s disgusting.

But as a kid?

I confess, I only ate a few, and only if they were really hard, almost crunchy.

No, Ella didn’t get this habit from me. I was the snot kind.

You know how there are kids who eat glue and those who eat paste?

I was a paste eater. Didn’t like glue … unless it was dried, and almost crunchy. It’s funny, how I liked construction-paper building materials that were solid, but I preferred gelatinous sinus products.

I remember grossing out my big brother. I’d feel a nice warm ooze sliding down my upper lip, how convenient, heading right for my mouth. My brother would get disgusted, say something about how I was the most despicable excuse for a human being there ever was, how he couldn’t stand to be around me, how my stomach must be full of snot.

I’d shrug, smirk, extend the tongue and curl it upwards to meet the salty-sweet nasal nectar. Tasty. Warm (that amazed me, how warm it was). Comfort snot.

Hey, at least I didn’t wipe it on my sleeve, smear it everywhere for everyone to see. I was discreet. It slid down, I opened up, gave a little swish with the tongue, rolled up the bottom lip for good measure.

If there was any left over I might wipe it off with my finger. Then I’d wipe it on my brother, or on his clothes when he wasn’t looking. Or on his toothbrush. heh heh heh

And my sweet little girl, I have her to thank for bringing these fond memories to mind.

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