The best laid plans gang aft awry, or whatever the exact quote is. I had a plan for this autumn, as I’ve had borderline too many commitments to handle. I had a plot this year in our town's community garden. I was lucky to get a space in this gold-plated community effort, for once my town decides to do something, it is all-the-way luxury class. We have an electronic gate, a sturdy fence, and the township supplies aged compost and sturdy raised boxes. We’ve had a rather chilly autumn this year and so it’s been a question for this old person of waiting for the stillest and warmest day possible to finish up. I’d watched Weather World from Penn State faithfully; I’d seen an upcoming Monday and Tuesday were going to be the last hurrah of Indian Summer. Perfect, I thought, as this was the drop dead-week for clearing up at that garden!
In the meantime, I was consuming those vegetables, both my own and those of generous neighbors. On the fatal day, I’d had a delicious lunch of peppers stuffed with beans, sprouts, bright orange winter squash and finished with a fresh apple—a crisp, yet sugary Empire, I believe. The coup de grace to this high fiber orgy was an entire, crunchy, raw-from-the-garden carrot.
Oh, and BTW the backstory is that there are significant portions of gut missing after a long illness followed by two surgeries. By 5 p.m. that evening, I knew I was in trouble; by midnight, the waves of pain were mountainous. It was time to head to the ER for the ritual vein piercing, then you’re a sad-sack bit of flesh still warm only because of attentive nursing and Ringer’s Lactase drip. Needless to say, I was in hospital during those two warm days in which I’d planned to make my final harvest of even more sprouts, kale and beets. Only the beets, after my release from the hospital, are on the menu—for the next few months, at least. After that, caution is advised regarding how much fiber goes in. My friendly neighbor was happy to receive the two 4 foot stalks of sprouts; the kale went into the community fridge in the hopes someone wanted or knew what to do with it's dino-hide leaves.
It's sobering to realize that ingesting a raw carrot can actually be a flirtation with death. Confusing a desire "to live normally,” with how far I’m truly able to do so, slides easily into the realm of “denial.” How easy for this old lady to stray over the line!
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(Photos of Day of the Dead altars at Smithsonian, Museum of the American Indian.)