We picked up Nana from the airport last night and went straight to Cracker Barrel for dinner. She proceeded to tell me that she had been waiting since Monday to tell me The Spinach Story. First she pushed back all of the items on the table - the lantern, the game, the salt and pepper. She cleared her path to tell her story.
As she spoke she illustrated with her hands and described her dinner on Monday.
She was home that evening, not working, and made herself a real fancy dinner. She started with her tray. "You know the tray Nana uses with the lighthouse on it? That one," she says to the boys.
"I laid it out," she said. "First, over here, I put my bowl of spinach. You know, the small can size? I warmed it up and then put a dab of white vinegar on it." She rolled her eyes back in her head. Judy must really like spinach. With her hands, Judy fixes the imaginary bowl of spinach in the corner of her imaginary tray.
"Then over here I put a little glass bowl of tartar sauce," she continued, illustrating a swirl in the little tartar sauce bowl. "Then on this side, I sliced up a nice tomato like this (slice, slice, slice) and put in on a pretty plate and sat it on my tray."
We all listened courteously.
"Then down here, I put my plate of six fish sticks, all lined up (line, line, line). My mouth was watering and I already had Molly in her kennel so I could eat in peace, so now I was ready to eat," she said.
"So I picked up my tray and walked from the kitchen to the living room, see. Except Molly had left the knot of her bone right in between the kitchen and the living room. And I was only looking at my beautiful tray and my belly was so hungry. So I stepped right on that ole' knot."
"Oh no!" we all gasped.
"Yes!" she said. "I lost my balance and went down like a ton of bricks," she said, as she flug herself across the table in demonstration. "But I never did let go of that tray! I fell straight on my knees and somehow kept my balance."
Judy was so proud she'd avoided really hurting herself a good one and also that she'd preserved her beautiful dinner. Except, she noticed that her tray didn't look the same as it did when she left the kitchen.
"I looked down and the tray didn't look right." Just then, a glop of spinach landed flat on the top of Judy's head. She looked up and another glop got her in the eye. My poor mother. A bigger glob of tartar sauce had shot straight up from the little glass dish and then came down on her back. I think a fish stick stuck her in the rump. All around her, little pieces of her dinner slopped and flopped on her.
Judy was pissed.
"Well how did you clean it up?" I asked. "I mean, does spinach stain?"
"You're darn right it stains," she said, "especially when you leave it sit there while you eat your dinner!"
We started to laugh.
"I was so pissed I couldn't see straight. First I had to pick all of my tomato slices up (pick, pick, pick) off the carpet. There wasn't too much fuzz," she said. "Then, I had to find all of my fish sticks. So I sat down on the couch and I used what was left of the tartar sauce (dab, dab, dab - which looked more like blonk! blonk! blonk! because she was mad) and... my poor spinach. I didn't get very much of my spinach."
Pretty much all of Judy's spinach was hanging... on her person.
"Then I started laughing and haven't quit since," she said.
Can you imagine my mother sitting on the couch, partially-disturbed and rearranged tray in her lap, very pissed look on her face, and slamming fish sticks into an empty glass bowl? All the while a tremendous glop of spinach sat in her hair and tartar sauce hung from her reading glasses?