Eat your vegetables before they eat you
I don't know where the dream came from, but I think it was a warning.
Being a meat and potatoes man, raised in that way from childhood, I have always seen vegetables as kind of a circus sideshow to the steak that was on my plate.
Oh, I love a good salad, and there is nothing better than fresh asparagus on a plate with a well barbecued chicken breast.
But somewhere in my life I began to see vegetables as the second class citizens of the food world.
I know it began as a child when I continually refused to eat green beans. I think most kids have some vegetables they revile, but I hated spinach and green beans the most.
Oh, and lima beans too.
Baby boomers might remember the time when school lunch was not made for kids. It consisted of adult kinds of food; you know the kinds of stuff you wouldn't eat except when your aunt was visiting because your mom told you to mind your manners and eat your dinner.
I remember though, that in general, I liked school lunch. That was except on the day when we had no meat and instead they served straight lima beans as the main entree. I remember watching tons of lima beans being thrown in the garbage those days. I also remember I had one teacher in fourth grade who actually didn't eat lunch the day we had lima beans and would instead stand where kids took the trays back. She would then make kids go back and eat those nasty little things. Personally, I think she didn't like them either and that is why she was in the cafeteria making others consume the horrible things.
I also remember one time my mother had made green beans and I was sitting there looking at them when my dad came in from milking the cows that evening.
"Rick won't eat his green beans," my mother, snitching on me, told my father.
"You should eat those," my dad said, before he even went to wash his hands. He was the cleanest farmer I had ever seen; always washing up. Because he didn't do that first thing I knew eating them was important, but I didn't respond. He bent over and looked at me. "I tell you what. If you will eat that entire pile of green beans on your plate, I'll give you five bucks."
Five dollars!! To a seven year old that seemed like an appropriate reward for having to put those green wiggly things in my mouth. After all, think about all the other crappy things I had put in my mouth as a kid. I remember one time I chewed on a dog treat just to see what it tasted like.
I downed the green beans like it was a piece of my mothers homemade chocolate cake. In fact I was done by the time my dad cleaned up and sat down at the table to eat his own dinner. I walked around the table and held out my hand. It was time for me to collect and for my dad to pay up.
He looked at me, kind of surprised. My mother looked at him with that look of "You are the one that promised the little bugger the money" so he took five bucks out of his pocket and gave it to me.
But what he did worked; from then on I liked green beans and have always eaten them eagerly. I also started to eat salad, broccoli and many other green things. Talk about positive conditioning.
So since that summer of 1960 I have gone around enjoying most of the green food I have eaten.
Then about a year ago I went to a Chinese restaurant in Salt Lake with my wife and a friend and I let them order for us. Usually that works out and in this case of the six dishes they ordered, five were great. But one dish had these green squirmy things on the top that looked kind of like stalks of celery, but not really. I tried to pick one up and it slipped off my fork and onto the table. I touched and it gave me the heebie geebies.
"What is this thing?" I said as I pulled away my hand as if it had bitten me..
"That's bok choy," said our friend as she put another one of them in her mouth.
I have never had food scare me, but these slithering green stocks did.
Since then I have avoided bok choy in every way. Well at least until last Thursday night.
I was dreaming an unknown guy and I were eating dinner at a card table in the master bedroom in my house. My wife kept bringing us more and more food. Finally she brought out this big platter and pulled the lid off it.
It was a huge pile of bok choy. Right on top was this long stock and it appeared to have eyes. I leaned over the platter and looked at it. It blinked, and then quickly stood upright It had teeth too; I knew 'cause it opened it's mouth. And then it jumped on me.
I danced around the room with this green thing stuck to me. I grabbed it off the front of my shirt and it was as slimmy as a greased pig. I could feel its muscles straining to get out of my hand. I saw its mouth start to move toward my skin and I threw it against the wall. It hit the wall papered sheetrock with a splat and then it slid down to the baseboard like a worm, leaving a wet trail behind it. It stood up, shook the top of its stock and then came after me.
Now this big bok choy didn't actually run, but instead it kind of sloshed, but in a fast way. I ran all over the house (of course in slow motion being that it was a dream) trying to get away from it. But like a famous credit card, it was everywhere I wanted to be.
Finally it cornered me in the TV room. I was exhausted and it was moving toward me. I closed my eyes just waiting for it to sink its teeth into me or whatever it was going to do when I heard my wife say "Honey, what's wrong?"
I opened my eyes and I was sitting straight up in bed and it was dark. My heart was beating like the base drum in Carbon High's band as it marches down Main Street in a parade.
I looked around. It was dark. It was 4 a.m. It was scary.
My wife said it again.
"What's wrong? Why did you sit up in bed?"
"Do we have any lima beans?" I asked.
"There's some lima beans in the pantry," she answered quizzically.
Hopefully that can of lima beans I ate at 4:10 a.m. that morning will prove how much I like green vegetables and keep the bok choy away from me for the rest of my life.