Sometimes the muse comes to supper and sows the seeds of an idea in an ol’ scribbler’s noggin.
Sometimes inspiration is dished up on a plate along with the roast chicken and mashed potatoes.
Sometimes it’s necessary to rid yourself of the burdens that have been bending your back for ages; bending your back, weighing you down, and buckling your knees beneath a load of gastronomical frustration.
Eventually, the time comes when you shuff back from the table, p’raps after clenching a fist and giving the tabletop a rap hard enough to make the water tumblers dance, and say, “I’ve had enough!”
Not enough of the chrispy chicken breast, the mashed potatoes and “wicked” carrots arranged enticingly on your plate and drizzled with gravy, but enough of the one serving sitting beside the others that has been spoiling Sunday Dinner for at least a decade.
However, since Dearest Duck would have disapproved, that’s not what I did at a recent Sabbath repast.
What, pound the table and jump up from my chair?
Dearest Duck would never serve me chicken and gravy again should I behave so boorishly-never mind double scoops of miniature green peas.
Right, green peas. Those little buggers, those misnamed vegetables-they are the seeds of the peapod fruit, after all-are the cause of my suppertime bellyaching.
So what’s my gripe?
Over the years green peas, especially the tinned ones-whether or not the labels picture that jolly green guy-have become smaller.
They’ve been down-sized. Shrunk!
Surely, you’ve noticed.
Do you recalled the halcyon days when green peas were half the size of grapes? Do you remember when it was possible to split a pea in half with a knife and feed each portion singularly to yourself on the tines of a fork?
Maybe I don’t either, but I know as certainly as I know there’s whoopsie in a puppy that tinned peas used to be bigger than the water-logged B.Bs. in today’s cans.
Mayhaps, shrunken peas are part of the small-is-trendy attitude exhibited in some gustatory circles.
Consider those plastic bags of tiny potatoes in the produce section of Supermarkets across the land. Once upon a time when Dunderland was the Land of Little Splits and a majority of folk reared their own spuds, at harvest time any marble-size potatoes were boiled in a pot, mashed up and fed to the pigs, eh b’ys?
I ask you, where are the dandy peas of yesteryear?
As is the Great Auk, gone forever I fear. I’ve searched. I’ve emptied a thousand cans in my quest for the Perfect Pea and none-not even Economy-sized Brands X, Y and Z-contain peas any larger than an undernourished blueberry.
Nevertheless, in dreams I wander jungles of pea vines whose swollen pods are bursting with gi-normous seeds at least as big and glistening green as a plump Granny Smith apple. Like Jack and his beanstalk, I climb a vine until I reach a puffed-up pod, tear into its flesh as if I were a Jolly Green Giant, and I feast.
“Harry, my pea-posterous love,” said Dearest Duck. “No wonder your scribbles are hove down by the roadside in a pale blue plastic bag. You’re ranting and raving like a man whose herbal tea has been doctored with serious medication,” she ended with words to that effect.
“My Duck,” said I, as like a famished man with fevered brain I experienced epiphany; as like Archimedes in his bathtub I blared “Eureka!”
Only I didn’t blurt out that word exactly. Rather, with galvanizing inspiration, and knowing Dearest Duck, my Queen, my erstwhile Princess, could help me in my search for the king-size pea, I said, “My Duck, let us hie-dee-ho to the marriage chamber.”
“Harry,” she protested as I herded her down the hall and left her standing, scowling, at bedside while I rushed off to our spare bedrooms...
...where I dragged the mattresses from the beds, scoated them back to the master-the Master’s!-bedroom and stacked them atop the incumbent box-spring set.
“Climb aboard,” I said.
I fled. Was this a dream or madness? I fancied finding peas like marbles, like grapes, like apples, like mutated watermelons and jamming them beneath the pile of mattresses until one of them-the prize winner!-humped up and bruised my Ducky’s delicate back.
Thank you for reading. I pray you’ve found these scribbles a-pea-ling.