Every night at dinner, Mary had fresh, hot buttered biscuits to go with delicious beef or chicken and rice or potatoes. Broccoli and artichokes were acceptable when she had time to make hollandaise sauce. So was lettuce which, if accompanied with Roquefort dressing, could be topped with a piece or two of avocado but no more than a piece or two.
Sometimes, though, she put mysterious things on the plate– small dimpled pebbles, long slimy spears, soft yellow lumps full of white seeds, brown peas each with an ominous black dot, or the dreaded eggplant that resembled something young Ansel Head tried to avoid stepping in while playing in the yard. The most hazardous piles were green like the woods next to Ross’s house where the two cowboys pursued wild Indians and outlaws, but the smells were different and not in a good way. Arguing that his dog, Sam, wouldn’t eat these things made headway with his father. Regrettably, he lacked the education to overcome his mother’s “starving children in China theory.”
His mother left the young Head with no recourse except to hold his nose, force it down, and gag it up. Lacking her brother’s finesse and style, Jane suffered through the indignity of holding down the disgusting deposits from her plate. Neither though failed to notice that their mother never had things on her plate she didn’t like and that their father merely announced, “I’m on a diet,” then covered the suspect items with his napkin. Those children in China were left to starve on his account.
When the lessons were finally over, Mary would wisper to to the children that she was only doing what she was told. “For lunch tomorrow, when it’s jus us, I’ll make some’m good.” And she always did.