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Saturday 13 Jul 2024

Island Vegetables
AJ Robinson

I never much cared for vegetables. I don't know if it's a "Boy Thing", or what; I just could not stomach most veggies.

My mother, being Italian, she loved to cook, and most of what she made, I loved. And, being Italian, most of what she cooked had garlic in it. I was probably the only kid in my neighborhood that grew up eating his Cream of Wheat with garlic! Yet, there was one dish of hers that I could never choke down: eggplant parmesan. Oh, that was vile, vile slime. Fortunately, that satanic vegetable was only in season during the summer; further proof of its demonic origin, as far as I was concerned!

So, she would end up serving that monstrous meal at least a couple times each summer. The first time I was forced to ingest that most vile veggie, I was unable to get more than a few mouthfuls down. Yet, as we all know, parents are (or at least were!) pretty strict about such things. It was:

"You'll stay there and clean your plate, young man!"

Well, I wasn't about to sit still for that. So, when the opportunity presented itself, those poisonous portions of plant went on the floor. Ta-da, success! Or so I thought. Being a young child, I hadn't exactly thought things through. I didn't think to somehow get the eggplant off the floor and out to the trash. It was then that I truly wished we had a dog. Of course, I don't think even a dog would have been interested in such a venomous concoction.

So, I got a royally good scolding about wasting food, and was told not to throw my food on the floor in future. It was clear I was going to have to be more - devious!

The dining room of the cottage had a wall behind my side of the table, a wall with cabinets on the opposite side, an open area to the kitchen on the right, and a window at the end, on my left.

That was my out!

Martha's Vineyard is known for its cool summer evenings. We often left the windows open all the time, and some of the screens had holes in them. I made sure the dining room window's screen had a nice big one.

So, the next time that toxic "treat" graced my plate; I put my Frisbee throwing skills to good use. Granted, the first few ended up on the floor by the window, but I eventually got so good that I could get them all the way across the walkway to the Loebeck's side flowerbed.

Anytime I sat on the other side of the table, I put those cabinets to good use. I'd learned my lesson. Come the next morning, while eating breakfast, I'd slip those lethal, evil eggplants out the back door and into the trash.

My mother never knew.

And, as far as I was concerned, it was a matter of self-preservation. That flowerbed - it just about completely withered and died! Proof positive that noxious eggplant is not fit for human consumption.

Sorry, Mom.

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Combining the gimlet-eye of Philip Roth with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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