Just for you, a little post-Thanksgiving silliness…
The holidays had come again,
The way they always do;
Thanksgiving, and then Christmas –
What feasting was in view!
Upon dear Great-Aunt Ida’s home
The relatives descended,
In every hand a covered dish;
The sweet aromas blended
Into one great, amorphous smell
Of “Holidays” entire –
If I could bottle that somehow,
I surely could retire!
The dining table quickly groaned
Beneath the weight of dishes
(In number and variety
Far beyond a glutton’s wishes!)
Arranged with loving care and taste
By Great-Aunt Ida’s hand;
The door did op’n at last to our
First came the turkey, goose and ham –
God’s tastiest creations –
The one thing that was sure, was that
We’d eat to satiation.
And beyond the animals, the shining
Potatoes, stuffing, rice and bread
In multitudes unreckoned…
And on the sideboard – oh, the sight!
There must have been fifteen
Types of puddings, pies and cakes;
And in the corner, something… green?
Confused, uncertain, full of doubt
I made my way along
The line until I thought that, no,
I surely must be wrong;
No food that color could be here
On this great festal day
To spoil the carefully designed
The shades of white, and cream, and beige
and tawny golden-brown
So artfully arranged to calm
The mind and spirit down.
And yet, I caught a fleeting glimpse
Of that disturbing green
Again as I dipped gravy
From the gallon-sized tureen…
Convinced at last that something wrong
Was truly in the air,
I navigated carefully
Past cousins stout and fair;
Determined now to find the source
Of that unsettling shade
And banish it, I ventured on
With spirit undismayed.
Mere minutes passed, I know, before
I reached the table’s end –
Though it seemed an hour, squeezing past
My relatives and friends –
But duty called, and no amount
Of pain, or bitter tears
(The trodden toes, the elbowed ribs
I would recall for years)
Could steer me from my course, or long
Deter me from my goal:
That verdant interloper
Whose presence seared my soul.
At last, at last I came upon
The villian of the scene
Huddled ‘midst the pastries –
A saucer of green beans!
No butter, sauce or breading
Adorned their nakedness.
Alone and lonely, shivering
On a bed of watercress,
They seemed, not vile, but helpless
And far from friend or kin;
Moved by a strange compassion,
I resolved to take them in.
I made a space upon my plate
By removing several rolls,
And then performed the deed that in
Our family still is told
In tones of hushed and reverent awe,
Repeated every year verbatim:
“He put those green beans on his plate,
And then he sat down, and he ate ’em!”
Many years have passed now
Since that great and fateful day,
But the echoes of my eating
Have yet to fade away.
Aunt Ida’s gone, God rest her,
To that banquet in the sky
Where the gravy flows in rivers
And the clouds are pumpkin pie…
And so the hosting of the feast
Has descended now to me,
And I try to do some justice
To her blessed memory.
The meats we have, and starches still,
Though no longer quite as much –
And of desserts we have our pick,
Of cakes and pies and such –
But another table stands as well,
And to it people bring
Containers full of vegetables,
Of green and growing things!
Spinach, peas and broccoli
Now have a home within;
No longer do we flee the thought
Of consuming vitamins.
Carrots, sprouts and mushrooms
Now adorn our dining hall –
And the lowly green bean, proud now,
Is the master of them all.