Green Peas and Table Knives
Up earlier than the sunrise, just me and the Elixir of Knowledge.
And memories. Lotsa memories.
Warm Elixir inflates a picture that floats up past my mind's eye. Huh. Well I'll be.
Uncle Ray. And a table knife.
Hadn't thought about that in years.
Uncle Ray was like a grandpa to us kids. He was an old Iowa bachelor farmer when we knew him. He was Mom's Dad's brother. Mom's Dad, "Grandpa Nig", went over to Flanders in WWI. He survived in body but his mind kept the horrors at bay with the help of 80 proof beverages.
So Mom and Aunt Helen were raised by Uncle Ray. Just a stoic, Depression-poor, bib-overalled farmer with hair in his nose and ears and not much on his head.
I remember Uncle Ray having one unique skill.
He could eat peas with a table knife.
He'd line 'em up on the blade, bring it up to his mouth and tilt. Maybe once an errant pea hit the table. Once. Really.
Line 'em up, pick it up, tilt, chew, and smile.
We kids were in awe. And, of course, we would have to try. And since the overall geometry of peas are spherical, they roll well.......well into the living room........especially if one sneezes during the procedure.......which adds a lot of vertical to a horizontal endeavor.
Every time Uncle Ray came over, we'd beg Mom to put peas on the menu. I don't remember him saying a lot. Nope. No sage wisdom and pithy quotes.
He just ate peas with a table knife. Played checkers with us. And loved us.
But it's that stuff we remembered. And we learned things, even if we didn't pick up on 'em right away.
Preparation (line your peas up- carefully), execution (bring the knife up - wait, do I have to sneeze? - no? - ok, bring the knife up slowly - and level - LEVEL!), commitment (tilt the knife - no turning back now!), and performing under pressure in front of a crowd (ok - there were only three of us but expectations were high).
Another thing we learned from Uncle Ray......you'll never beat an old farmer at checkers.
Eating peas with a knife. Just a skill that others would find stupid. Or worthless. It ranks near the bottom of the Who's Who List of Noticeable Skills and Endeavors.
Near the bottom...right down there with "giving a cup of cool water".
Small things. Unnoticeable things.
But nothing really ever goes unnoticed. Someone always notices.
Another pull of the Elixir swirls another thought.
A seemingly insignificant skill - if used for the benefit of others - can impact a life.
For a lifetime.
Cups of cold water.
Table knives and green peas.
I get up with a groan and move stiffly toward the pantry.
On the way through the kitchen I grab the can opener.
And a table knife.
I better try this before the Wife gets up.
Better get the broom ready, too.