The Day the Ketchup Ran Out

“If I could snap my fingers and be non autistic, I would not. Autism is part of what I am.” Dr. Temple Grandin

Since I started blogging I’ve started following other blogs for inspiration. One of the blogs I follow is written by Laurie Stone. Her blog post about the day the chocolate ran out struck a chord with me, admittedly because of a Facebook memory that had popped up recently. A tragedy, at least in my household, had fallen upon us. It was, [cue the dramatic music here]


My son was born in 1983 a normal, healthy 8+ pound boy. By the time he turned 2 he was not speaking so we did what every parent would do-we took him to the doctor to find out why. The Hubs was in the Air Force at the time and we were living in Italy, so the doctor was not just down the street-it was a 3-hour one-way trip on a bus on a Friday. Still, it needed to be done so we made the appointment, got on the bus, and off we went. That appointment lead to another, which lead to another, and yet another. These trips ultimately lead to a diagnosis which, at the time, I had no idea would shape my world for my remaining days.

Autism means different things to different people-they don’t call it a spectrum for nothing! In his younger days, until he started speaking, life with my Sonny was a difficult one. The therapists taught us how to communicate using American Sign Language, which we used in conjunction with spoken language until we finally learned how to communicate with each other. The difference was amazing, and a whole lot less frustrating for all of us. He went through school, graduated, went through a job training program, and he’s working and thriving today. He still lives at home and will for the foreseeable future. I cannot imagine life around here without him, autism and all.

Which brings me to The Day The Ketchup Ran Out. One of our rituals (people with autism LOVE rituals) is a Saturday trip to the grocery store. I make the menu, clip the coupons, make the list, and off we go. I count on Sonny to keep tabs on certain things in the kitchen and one of them is our ketchup supply. He eats practically EVERYTHING with ketchup. Rice, vegetables, mashed potatoes, you name it. Even if something is fixed with a sauce or a gravy, it still gets the ketchup treatment. It’s weird and gross as heck to me, but that’s how he rolls so who am I to judge? Then one day about 3 years ago, this happened…

Ketchup Ran Out

We had just been to the grocery store and he didn’t say anything, so I had no reason to think we were out of ketchup. It was when we were sitting down to dinner that evening that he finally said something to me. The look on his face was nothing short of pitiful. He would have to sit down and eat a meal with NO KETCHUP. In an autistic person’s world, this is a HUGE deal. I don’t remember what I fixed that night, I only know that he had to eat it “dry” or go hungry. He ate it and survived the night. You can be sure by that time 24 hours later the house was fully stocked with ketchup! This was 3 years ago, and it hasn’t happened since. I very much doubt that it will ever happen again!

Life with a guy with special needs living in my house is a huge challenge sometimes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I wouldn’t have my Sonny any other way.  He’s perfect just the way he is.

To learn more about autism, please click here. It’s not always as scary as it sounds.

Be well and God Bless-until we meet again…

Author: olderwisermoneymiser

I’m a 50-something wife, mom, and full time accounting administrator sharing my journey from work to retirement.

13 thoughts on “The Day the Ketchup Ran Out”

  1. What a fun story (although I bet it wasn’t fun at the time – things are often funnier in hindsight!) I love how you are so accepting and positive about the challenges that autism has brought into your family. My son was born in 1986 and I was comparing his life to your son’s – similar in some ways (he’s an engineer so quite strong on rituals too!) but he’s far from home and out in the bigger world. I’m glad your son has you and a job and a great life – you can’t ask for more can you ?

    Thanks for linking up with us at #MLSTL and I’ve shared this on my SM x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I am glad we can laugh about this now. Poor guy! My first reaction when he was diagnosed was, “OK-now what?” Not nearly as much was known about autism then as it is now so I wasn’t sure what we could do to help him but my husband was active duty military at the time and the US Dept of Defense had a WONDERFUL program for us. I say “us” rather than “him because it really was a support system for all of us. Thank you for commenting.


  2. Your story rings so true, Kim. Like all teachers, I’ve worked with many kids on the autism spectrum. Structure and routine matters so much. You know what matters even more? Understanding, supportive and calm parents. Your son is a fortunate man.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for sharing that little snippet of your life. I have a 14-year-old grandson with autism, and I can well imagine what having a routine interrupted looks like. For that matter, I can imagine what I’d be like on a morning without coffee! If he loves ketchup like I love coffee–get that boy some ketchup! I found your post on #MLSTL.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have several friends with autistic children, all over the spectrum. I am sharing this post with them…I know they will appreciate it. Thank you for sharing that fateful day….

    #MLSTL visitor (shared on SM)


  5. Loved your post! Especially the title – great!
    For a year and a half when my friend went back to school I watched her daughter, now my ‘adopted’ granddaughter. She was diagnosed with borderline autism and yes – the things that can cause a meltdown! I’ve learned a lot over the past few years!
    I enjoyed your post. Sharing on SM for MDSTL.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It truly has been a challenge and I hope my insights help other parents cope with an autism diagnosis. We’re very fortunate in that my son is pretty high functioning and meltdowns are, for the most part, non existent now. Back in the day was a whole different story but he’s outgrown most of the negative stuff. Thank you for your comments, and for sharing my story!

      Liked by 1 person

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