This entry is part 1 of 15 in the series The Gift of Markree Castle

Were fries invented in Belgium? We might never know.

“Dec, are you awake?” Lu asked a soundly sleeping 11-year old, but his head was turned away from Lu so it wasn’t clear if he was partly awake or not. Lu tossed a tennis ball up in the air as he sat in a chair next to Dec.

“Hey Dec, do you know when the World Cup is tonight? Do you know if we can get the channels here?” Lu asked, but there was no response from Dec. Maybe he just didn’t know if the game was on.

“I think I saw a TV on in the bar last night. I think it’s the Netherlands against Costa Rica. Or it might be Argentina versus Belgium. Belgium is pretty good, but Argentina should probably win. I hope Holland wins against Costa Rica. We went to Puerto Rico last year and my dad always mixes up Puerto Rico and Costa Rica, so now I mix it up too so that I might even want to root for Costa Rica a little bit, just because we were there and it was really fun, but I’m half Dutch, so of course I would root for the Dutch. But I’m just saying that if it’s Costa Rica, I don’t know, maybe I’d root for them a little bit, but I wouldn’t want them to really win or anything. I don’t know. I don’t think China is even in it, are they? Are they any good? Does China even have a soccer team? Or maybe you’d root for the United States because you’re half American, too, right? Just like me,” Lu waited for a response from Dec, but there was none. Maybe he was just really tired still, Lu thought. So he kept going.

“I don’t know, the US is pretty good, but I just don’t think they can handle the South American and European teams. You know, in Holland, around World Cup time, the whole country is orange. I mean, people have banners across their streets and hang red, white and blue flags all over the place. Well, that sounds like maybe they’re American flags because those are also red, white and blue, but the Dutch flag is three stripes with red at the top, then white, then blue. It’s like the French flag, but their flag is vertical and the Dutch flag is horizontal. I can’t remember if the French flag is red, white then blue or maybe blue, white then red, but I think the white is in the middle. We watched the French play in France one time and they go crazy too. I mean, the whole country is out in cafes and everything is red, white and blue and I ordered fries for every lunch and dinner. Well, I’d order fries if I could for breakfast, too, but sometimes they just don’t have them or maybe my parents want me to eat something else.” Lu paused a moment as he couldn’t speak and envision fries at the same time.

“Did you know that fries were invented in Belgium? No, wait, maybe it was Holland, but I don’t think they were invented in France, but that would be kind of weird since we call them French fries, but you know what’s really weird, now that I think of it, maybe they don’t call French fries French fries in other countries! You know what I mean? I mean, what if, in, like, I don’t know, Australia, they call them just fries or even something else completely. I think even here in Ireland they call them chips or something. But then there’s crisps and I think those might be what I call chips like potato chips. Do you think we can get fries for breakfast? Well, we know they have a big kitchen, don’t we? I mean, we know our way around this castle already. I wonder what we’ll discover today. I’m a little scared about tonight, but maybe we won’t even go, maybe we’ll just watch a movie, I don’t know, I mean, I wouldn’t mind just hanging out, maybe throwing around a football or playing soccer. Maybe we could even play indoors. Oh man, I don’t know what I’m talking about, I don’t even have an American football, but I did bring a soccer ball, but we had to deflate it for the airplane and now we need to inflate it. I wonder if they have a pump. It’s not like this is a kid castle or anything, they don’t have a play room where we can play, I don’t know, foosball or something. Do you ever play foosball?” Lu waited for a response, but it didn’t come. He tossed the tennis ball continuously up and down, up and down.

“Hmm, I guess you don’t really play. I’m pretty good. That sounds fun, maybe we can play that today. Well, I mean, if they have it. Do you think we can get fries for breakfast? What do they call fries in China anyway? Maybe it’s like the Donald Duck nephews, that’d be pretty cool to ask people from all over the world about what they call fries. Maybe I’ll do that someday. You know, because I eat fries all the time. I wonder when the World Cup will be on. Usually it’s at night because it’s in Brazil and I don’t even really know where Brazil is but it’s like a million time zones from here so you have to count backwards from tomorrow and divide by 10 or something. I don’t really understand how that works, do you? But I think the game was on last week in Holland around 6 in the evening, but, oh man, now we’re in Ireland and I think we’re even different from Holland, but I don’t really know which way, so, you know what? I really don’t know what time the game is on. Wow, duh, I don’t even know if they have TV here. Maybe if it’s like a buffet where you just get whatever you want, sometimes they have fries, but I think that sometimes they’re from the night before because they just seem kinda old, you know? I mean, I’ll pretty much eat any fries, but they’re better when they’re fresher and hot. Don’t you think? I mean, do you like fries for breakfast?”

Lu was pretty sure Dec would have answered to fries for breakfast since he himself was such a fanatic about it, Dec must have at least been interested. Dec did budge a little on the mention of fries, so that was a good sign.

“I could really go for some fries. Man, I should stop talking about fries because now I’m getting really hungry. Dude, are you even awake yet? You sleep like my brother. He sleeps so late. But I usually wake up earlier. No, seriously, are you awake?” Lu stood up and looked over Dec’s head to try to get a look at his eyes. He gently shook his shoulder.

“Huh? What? Is it morning? Do we have to get up?” a groggy Dec said as he rolled over and did a double take when he saw Lu. “Oh, hey Lu. What did you ask me?”

“Do you think we can get fries for breakfast?” Lu asked, smooth as a cucumber, continuing to throw his ball up and catch it.

“They have fries for breakfast? Awesome!” Dec rolled onto his side and propped himself up with an elbow, “I’m ready!”

“Let’s go!” Lu said, excited that someone else was as enthusiastic as he was about fries for breakfast.

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