Monday, January 20, 2014

The Liver Trick (revisited)

My daughter suggested (in her brutally honest way) that I should write more of my family stories in prose instead of poetry.  I can see her point, so I gave it a try.  This is a rewrite of my poem, "The Liver Trick" which was posted on 6-28-12.

The Liver Trick      by Janet Sobczyk, 2014ⓒ

Bev was a busy homemaker, a loving wife and mother, and a good cook.  She enjoyed making nutritious meals for her family.  Her menus were balanced and the four children learned to eat what was put in front of them… Mexican, Italian, Oriental, or American cuisine.  It didn’t seem to matter much to the kids. 

Her husband, Bill, was a picky eater with a severe sweet tooth.  His favorite meals involved meat, potatoes, fruit, and dessert.  He barely tolerated casseroles, didn’t like many vegetables, and absolutely detested liver.  She did make liver a few times when the children were small because “it’s loaded with iron and good for you.” But it always turned out as tough as shoe leather.  Bill couldn’t choke it down.

As the kids grew up and moved away, Bev still kept liver in the freezer, but not for consumption.  She had discovered a much better use for it.

Bill usually came home for lunch.  He often worked late, so lunch together at home was not only cheaper, it was a way to “feed” their marriage.  At the end of the simple meal, while putting his dirty dishes by the sink he would always ask, “What’s for dinner tonight?”  

Bev usually had an idea or a menu to quote.  But once in a while she just wanted to eat out.  And for some unknown reason, she didn’t want to be the one to suggest it.  On those days, she had her answer to his question at the ready.  She would point to the frozen package sitting in the sink to thaw.  “Liver,” she replied.

Bill would sigh and say, “Ok, see you later, dear.”  Then he’d kiss her cheek and head out the door.  

As soon as his truck pulled away, Bev would put the rock-solid package back in the freezer and wait it out.  Before long the phone would ring and Bev would answer it with a smile, feigning surprise.  It was Bill, of course.  “Hey, let’s eat out tonight.  Where would you like to go?”

Bill was never told (and never seemed to guess) that Bev used the same package of liver for many years.  It never had a chance to defrost, doomed to a chronic case of freezer burn.  Yes, Bev was taking a calculated risk.  Bill could have decided not to call.  Who knows?  Maybe he was just playing along.  But from her viewpoint it was a fool-proof plan that worked.  Every time.