“No Veggies For Me Today. It’s Wednesday.”

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I have always had a tumultuous relationship with vegetables. No matter how much my parents tried to convince me that they would make me smarter and prettier, veggies in all their chlorophyll glory had as much appeal to me as clump of grass to a shark. Alas for me, my dad had this backyard garden- his pride and joy- that held the most hardcore vegetables a kid ever had to battle with. No, they were not the usual peas, carrots and broccoli that normal children had to contend with. These were okra, kangkong (Asian spinach) and other such green and slimy unmentionables, the likes of which vegetarians would swoon over and carnivores keel over. Like a Green Giant, my dad would harvest them all in one big swoop, dump them in a cauldron of boiling water, and concoct a steaming pot of vegetable soup that held not a morsel of meat or hint of seasoning to redeem itself. Of course, the unlucky recipient of such culinary activity was us kids, and that included poor old me.

I am sure my dad meant well, but sitting in front of a heaping bowl of vegetable soup with tears streaming down my face was pretty much my idea of hell on earth. With “Finish your vegetables, or you cannot leave this table” ringing in my ears, I became quite creative at hiding the vegetables- under the table, stuck to a plate, inside my pockets, flung across from the room- until I got found out, and my hides paid the price. I think that’s when seeds of rebellion started to germinate. It was either this hell on earth for the rest of my childhood, or make a stand, say no, and face the consequences.

One day, a bowl of vegetable soup appeared before me as usual, but instead of toughing it out, I pushed the bowl aside and reached for some rice and meat. I braced myself, waiting for the wrath of the almighty to strike me. When it didn’t, I knew I was free! Free to roam the earth like the carnivore I was meant to be, ravenous and bloodthirsty, the scourge of flock and fowl alike…

Thus I intended to live the rest of my days, until one strange day, or month, or year, something monumental happened: I evolved into an enlightened adult. Strangely, I developed a hankering for salad. I even tried peas, carrots and broccoli-and liked them. Even stranger, I found that I loved okra, my old nemesis. As for spinach, I juice it now along with carrots, celery and cucumber. If my dad could see me now!

Ironically, I found out much later that my mom did not like vegetables either. I thought how much easier it would have been for me to say “I’m not eating my vegetables until Mom eats some!” That might have earned me some flogging, but it was worth a try.

My mom has been getting a lot of good-natured ribbing from us kids over the fact that while we were forced to eat vegetables when we were younger, she had been exempt all that time. Now we even take her pics on the rare occasions that her fork digs up a green treasure, and she smiles gamely for the camera. She’s been trying, though, especially when I tease her that since it’s too late for us kids, at least she can set an example for her grand kids, by eating her greens.

One day, my daughter Chessa and I took my mom out for lunch. Her order came with pork chop, wild rice and asparagus. She took a bite of her pork chop and rice, and deftly pushed the greens to the side. When Chessa saw this, she cried out “Grandma!”

My mom looked up at her and calmly said, “No veggies for me today. It’s Wednesday.” Smooth.

It took a moment to register, then we all burst out laughing. My mom’s aversion to vegetables is legendary, but her wit is even more so. My daughter teased her, “Ah, so no veggies for you today coz it’s Wednesday. Tomorrow, no veggies either coz it’s Thursday. Same for Friday and the other days. Grandma…”

As for me, I am glad I made my peace with the Green Giant, but if I ever feel like ditching the greens, my mom just provided me with the best line ever…

“No veggies for me today. It’s Wednesday.”

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jhulz
    Oct 14, 2013 @ 11:34:53

    Nice. This story made my Day!
    Best punchline, I’m gonna use in the future!

    Reply

  2. Charina
    Oct 14, 2013 @ 11:44:57

    Another well versed & masterful narrative writing Achie. Keep ’em coming. I enjoy reading all your work.

    Reply

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