Deceiving Appearances

June 18, 2022 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Kim Stokely –

Have you ever had a taste surprise? You reach for the bottle of apple juice in the fridge, take a swallow, only to discover it’s actually the sun tea you made that afternoon? A friend of mine has held a grudge against pumpernickel bread ever since she took a cube off a buffet table, thinking it was a brownie bite.

I had, at a recent family reunion, not a taste surprise, but an appearance surprise. To understand the true nature of this, you have to know that some members of my husband’s family loathe mayonnaise. The sight of the gelatinous white sandwich spread makes them physically ill. My son, Ian, doesn’t hate it to that extent, but he still doesn’t like it. As we gathered at the picnic table to eat a lunch of leftovers, my niece, Allison, walked out with a huge jar of mayonnaise.

Her cousin, Justyn, stared at her in horror. “Why’d you bring that out here?”

She gave him a sweet smile. “I found out that I like it!”

My son looked around the table at the remaining hot dogs and burgers. Ian’s face paled. “What are you going to put it on?”

Allison plopped into her chair, setting the offensive jar, and a plate of crackers on the table. She slowly unscrewed the cap.

Justyn turned a shade of green. “Crackers? You eat it just with crackers?”

In answer, she dipped her spoon into the jar and spread a blob of its contents onto a cracker. She popped the morsel into her mouth. “Yep.”

My son stared. “I dare you to eat a spoonful on its own.”

Allison promptly did.

Ian made a retching noise before standing up. “That just hurt my heart.” He and Justyn ran into the house.

Allison laughed while the rest of us looked on with various expressions of confusion, curiosity and revulsion. She scooped out another blob and held it out. “Anyone else want some?” She giggled at the groans she heard. “It’s vanilla pudding!”

She’d fooled all of us with her practical joke, something she gloated over for the rest of our visit. We’d all looked at the jar and its label, and assumed that the white goo inside was mayonnaise. But, if we’d really thought about it, we would have realized Allison would never eat mayonnaise, as she’s always been the most vocal in her disgust of the stuff.

The joke reminded me of the passage in 1Samuel 16:7 when God warned Samuel not to judge a person by their appearance, as man does; but by their heart, as He does. How often do we jump to conclusions based on appearances? Has someone’s clothes, or tattoos, or hairstyle, stopped me from approaching them because I didn’t think we’d have anything in common? Just because the outside looks like something we might not like, the inside might hold a sweet treat, just like Allison’s jar of “mayonnaise.”

About Kim Stokely

Kim Stokely has toured throughout the country in a one-person musical about women in the Bible. She lives in Nebraska with her husband and a variety of creatures including: two teenagers, two dogs, a parakeet and a legless lizard. Her stories have been printed in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Vista, and Writers’ Journal and she invites you to visit her website @ to read her award winning short story, Bingo.
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8 Responses to “Deceiving Appearances”
  1. I remember as a child having lunch with my aunt. She had a blob of mayonnaise in the corner of her mouth and I was too repulsed to say anything. More than fifty years later I still remember the uncomfortable moments trying not to look as we finished eating. My and is a sweet soul but some people try to portray an image that they want to be seen as. Often they are not who they appear. Sometimes they are, but often the most rugged individuals have a soft side.

    • Kim says:

      Isn’t it the truth? Some of the gentlest men I know look like they could tear your arms off! As I get older, I think I’ve finally learned not to judge by appearances, but by character. Thanks for your insights, James

  2. Julie S says:

    I can’t tell you how many sweet treats I have discovered among our church family – such a diverse group of people with such gifts just waiting to be discovered. In fact, you were one of my most sweet treat discoveries :)!

    • Kim says:

      I love our church family, too! Such a diverse group of people from all walks of life. Truly what God intended for His people. And you have been one of my sweetest discoveries as well!

  3. Sherry Harris says:

    That is truly funny. I tolerate mayo but don’t embrace it. I was in an airport book store looking for a magazine. A very tough looking guy was putting new ones out. He asked what I was looking for and pointed it out. However, since I’d been traveling a lot I’d already read that issue. He insisted on digging through all his boxes to find me the latest issue.

    • Kim says:

      I think “embracing” mayo would be messy! I loved your story about the airport. We just never know where we’ll find the gems if we don’t stop and take time to talk with people.

  4. Penny Roberts says:

    I love jokes like that! I do things like that with the kids–but–beside the point!

    It happened again–just last night at the youth group–Nathan, my son brought his guitar with him–he’s new to the group–folks have been a little standoffish–having already formed their cliques from school. Nathan has been in Ecuador for a year as a foreign exchange student–so this is a new group–having just returned this past month. Wow! What a difference when he was able to share his love for Jesus through great music!

    Looking for the treasures in people–when I meet them anew. There’s so much more than meets the eye!

    Hugs, Penny

  5. Kim says:

    So glad to hear Nathan found a way to break the ice with the youth group. Music has a way of doing that!

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