Cheetos: A Confession

Last week I attended the Cedar Falls Christian Writers Conference for the first time since 2019. My fibromyalgia symptoms have worsened during the last year so I signed up, not knowing whether I’d be able to attend or not. The closest cabin to the venue was rentable, so I reserved it (for fibromyalgia’s insistent naps).

My favorite chauffeur got us there too early to check in, but in just enough time to try the nearby Dairy Cream. Why doesn’t anyone in the Des Moines area offer black raspberry swirl?

Another health difficulty (I’m a mess, but a blessed one) keeps me from having supper, but I enjoyed connecting with other attendees at the picnic. Then I spied a bag of Cheetos. I was missing out on my decades-long favorite junk food for writers conferences and workshops! (In the old days, I savored them with baloney sandwiches.)

Susan’s husband Mark heard me mention that and later brought me a little bag of them anyway. Hey, I can save it for morning, with the tuna salad I’d brought. What a satisfying breakfast!

After a nap the last day, I returned to the main building. Someone had parked a bag of Cheetos right where I’d left my notebook and shawl (always a shawl). But the gifter from the night before was nowhere around. When he arrived, I asked him about it, but he was innocent. His wife Susan was giggling though. She’s who had stationed them there for me.

I also wanted to meet the wife of one of the presenters. She arrived halfway through lunch, which (for me) was a gluten-free sandwich and Cheetos. My fingers were orange. I tried to expunge the orange from those fingers with a napkin so I could give her a hug. When we eventually got into a conversation about the lack of focus and  concentration, I learned she lives holistically and has used herbs and natural remedies. My lunchmates had finished so we sat at the table to keep chatting.

In front of me were half a bag of Cheetos. Well, I wasn’t sure my new friend would approve of them, but I nibbled a few more. More tell-tale orange. I kinda lost interest in my wonderfully salty and crunchy traditional conference companions. Since I’d already consumed a whole bag of them at breakfast and half of one at lunch, I reluctantly tossed the rest.

My favorite chauffeur arrived that afternoon to load up my bedding and all from the cabin. We decided there was time for another black raspberry treat before heading home. Do you suppose that will replace my craving for Cheetos and become our traditional writers conference tradition?


    • Thank you, Victoria. I also got to hug some from years earlier who gave feedback for the first Leora book and who have been cheerleaders for all three since 2019, which was the last time I was able to attend.

      • Well, then! Even more precious. Giving praise and love to our cheerleaders is such a full-circle moment. Cheers to hugging all! 🥰

  1. My take on your wonderful story: we make the most of life, yes sometimes that might be holistic natural remedies and so forth, but sometimes that also means Cheetos and black raspberry ice cream! We make do with what works to help us be the best we can at that moment. Thanks for sharing Joy. Glad you were able to attend!

    • Bless you, Brian. I almost didn’t run this one, but now I’m glad I did! I was thankful to get to go because several there gave me feedback for my first Leora book, and have been cheerleaders through Covid with the second and third. By this time, I’d become an encourager of new writers!

  2. You are one of the people I was sad to miss seeing this year. Guthrie Center, Iowa has black raspberry ice cream at a small ice cream shop. They aren’t open often but the ice cream is good.
    I love the ice cream from Four Queens- if that’s still the name.

    • I asked if you were coming, hoping you’d be there. Yes, Four Queens! We spied it in 2019 but didn’t stop until this year, so had to make up for that by having some before and after the conference!

  3. In the old days, I savored Fritos corn chips and fried bologna sandwiches on white Wonder bread. For dessert I’d eat marshmallow creme on white bread if it was in the house. How are we alive?

    • How indeed! I took baloney sandwiches (white bread and Miracle Whip) every single day to detassel corn when I was 14! Guess they didn’t have Cheetos back then. Marshmallow creme on bread? Is it worth trying???

      • Oh, yes, it’s worth trying. I remember liking the mushy texture. I’d take one slice of white bread (the kind you can make dough balls out of for fish bait), spread marshmallow creme on it, and roll it up to eat like a hotdog!

  4. Wonderful story and I may have to check out the conference! I love(d) Cheetos! My best memory is buying the full size bag at the little corner grocery on my walk home from school. While my dad and brothers were renovating the house we would soon be moving into, I’d sit in an old bathtub with feet (before it was removed) to do my homework, eating and working, orange fingers and all. Who can imagine what my papers looked like. I was not a very good student in those days…😅 (so nice to meet you in Mitch’s site)💛

    • I love it! You sound like my dad’s attempt to write an excuse for me in 1956: Dear Mrs. Wineinger, Let Joy go where she wants to. Also let her eat candy & gum in school. Yours truly, Her sweet father

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