KIDS AND VEGETABLE WARFARE
The 50’s and 60’s were anything but uneventful. Still downshifting from WWII and the Korean War in ‘53. I was born in ‘52 and life was good. Everything was good and forever, in a child’s mind, if one ever gave it a thought. As a child, any thought or contemplation is simply a new potentially uncharted adventure. Vegetables are charted, very likely poisonous and we learn quickly out of sight out of mind. Growing older, we found everything may not be as ‘swell’ as it seemed and things were not timeless. Personally, I relaxed when I found the absolutes in life to be simple but comforting. Wednesday would always be meatloaf night and parents would be there forever. Of course we know how that worked out but I gave little thought to how eating dinner would shape my life. The dreaded vegetables and how I dealt with them would in fact last forever.
Each child, independently discovered, formulated and initiated a plan to not eat vegetables metaphorically or not. As we had few reference points, sans an older sibling any thoughts were patented and solely the property of yourself. The legumal wars differed from household to household. Those blessed with dogs could fairly easily dispose of the poisonous greens by feeding your friend by hand or dropping them on the floor. This would often provide only temporary relief until the mutt found vegetables tasted like shit also. My plan was far more brilliant but I faced a brilliant nemesis and she booted the dog out of the kitchen at evening meals when vegetables were inevitable. Inevitable, no doubt resultant of an abusive childhood trauma suffered by mother. She was likely forced under penalty of gruesome death to eat lima beans. The horrendous cycle continues. Damn it mister, not on my watch. Divide and conquer. I coined this phrase by the way. My vegetables were nonchalantly, between bites of the entree and interrogation of mother to determine what me and dad did that day respectively, spread around the plate. This left the appearance of lonesome, stranded morsels as opposed to a defiant pile of spinach.
Occasionally, one or both adults in the room saw through my otherwise invincible strategy and insisted on my consumption of said toxic foodstuff. Mother would discreetly, “ahem” and then stare at my plate. Dad, ever the subtle sort, never looking away from his plate or missing a bite would clap me on the back of the head. Message received.
Continuing into adulthood, I spread my problems over hell’s half acre and ostensibly have little to none. Knowing full well a day of reckoning awaited me, but not being immediate, I dissipated it to the wind as well.
I’m to be married next week and this will be number six. At dinner one evening with my now fiancee, I instinctively and without a thought, dispersed the vegetables to their respective corners. She continued to eat, never took her eye off her plate and clapped me on the back of my head. The proposal was immediate.
“Hi, my name is Bill and I need adult supervision.” Roomful of twelve step members: “Hi Bill.” wjk/3/2/23/538