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  • Tom Boyd

Life Lessons & Lima Beans

I hated vegetables when I was a kid, but I was not allowed to leave the dinner table until I cleaned my plate. Some nights there would be a standoff and hours would pass before I could leave the table, only to go direct to bed without dessert. I was stubborn, and Mother was even more so... Germans are like that.

I remember when Mother hit upon the diabolical method of combining the worst vegetables with the best desserts. Corn, my favorite vegetable, would mean Jello for dessert. Brussel sprouts and lima beans meant chocolate pudding or cake (my favorite).

I will never forget the dinner that paired lima beans and chocolate cake. I sat looking at the cold lima beans for what seemed forever; in reality, it was about an hour. Next to the lima beans sat a large piece of perfect chocolate cake.

Aha!! I had an idea…

I attempted to stuff the lima beans in my cheeks, then move the bites of cake down my throat passing the lima beans on the way down. The effort went horribly wrong when the beans and cake got mixed together…I went running to the bathroom and never touched lima beans again. Truthfully, I never liked chocolate cake as much either.

Years later my Mother told me that her and Father were in kitchen trying to contain their laughter as they saw my puffed cheeks and observed the resulting disaster.

I may have been done with lima beans, but they weren’t finished with me yet…

I got out of the army in July 1969, turned 21 in September and started dating for the first time. In early 1970, I met Pam B. She was a young pretty girl of 18 and fellow junior college student. She invited me to her house for dinner with her mother and sister.

The dinner included lima beans.

I already knew that her mother did not like me because I was too old and “worldly” for her daughter. When the conversation shifted to the Vietnam war (we did not have the same views) that didn’t help. That said, it was my decision to leave the lima beans on my plate without explanation that earned me a look from mother and daughter. That was my last date with Pam.

Maybe I should have told them the horribly sad story about lima beans and chocolate cake?

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