Prunes Prevail


               Many years ago a friend  and I traveled together as I  spoke
          in churches.  He  was the song leader in the services.   We had a
          van and lived on  the road for several weeks  at a time.  We  had
          been room mates in seminary so we got along very well.

               One summer, while traveling through  Iowa on the way to some
          meetings in Illinois, my friend said, let's stop over and spend a
          couple of days with my aunt and  uncle.  They are retired farmers
          but have a pond we can fish in or swim in if we like.  My aunt is
          a great cook, too.  So, since we had several days to kill, we did
          exactly  that.   My  friend  and I  were  used  to hardly  eating
          breakfast at all as we  traveled around the country.  Normally  a
          doughnut  and a cup of  coffee was all we needed.   At aunt Alice
          and  uncle Harold's  home, however, they  believed in  eating big
          meals  three times  a day  and breakfast  was one of  the largest
          meals, too.  After a couple  of days, my friend and I were  about
          to die from over eating.

               One morning we  got up, and Alice was  fixing another of her
          huge meals with  pancakes, bacon, eggs, toast, chunks  of ham and
          who knows what else.   Maybe it wasn't all that much food  but it
          sure seemed like  it.  Alice was  also very particular.   I mean,
          you had to  clean your plate  and eat everything  she sat on  the
          table or else.  We started this particular morning with a bowl of
          prunes.  They still had  the seeds in them.   Well, I don't  hate
          prunes, I actually kind of like them, but I had a problem.  There
          seemed to be nothing  else on the table yet.   I mean, there were
          no plates, breakfast  bowls, silverware or napkins.   In short, I
          had no where to put  my seeds.  I had a  dilemma.  If I spit  the
          seeds back into my bowl of prunes, I knew from experience I would
          just keep spooning up the seeds over and over again until  I went
          crazy.  So I did the only thing  left.  I kept the seeds pocketed
          in my cheeks like a chipmunk until I had eaten all the prunes and
          then I  decided I could spit  them back into the bowl  all at the
          same time.  Keep in mind we  are out in the country and there you
          don't have to follow all  the table manners and dinning etiquette
          you might elsewhere.  Of course I would wait until Alice  had her
          back turned before spitting all those  seeds into my bowl but you
          get the picture.   Alice was moving  about the kitchen behind  me
          all this  time  and  she  once and  awhile  would  come  and  sit
          something on the table but otherwise it  was just my friend and I
          seated at the breakfast table.  Uncle Harold had already left for
          the morning.   I ate and  ate and ate so  many prunes, my  cheeks
          looked like water  balloons by the  time I got  to the bottom  of
          that bowl.  It didn't seem like that large of a bowl at first but
          I  just decided  I had  misjudged how  many prunes  were actually
          there at first.

               A few  days later  my friend  and I  were back  on the  road
          heading to Illinois.  I got to  thinking about the hospitality of
          aunt Alice  and her cooking  and said  something about  it to  my
          friend.  He agreed they ate big meals.  Then I said,  you know, I
          thought I was going to choke on all those  prunes before I got to
          the bottom  of that bowl  a few mornings  ago.  My  friend busted
          into uncontrollable laughter.   I said, what's so  cotton picking
          funny.  He said, well, I hate prunes but you know  how aunt Alice
          is.  So, when she turned her back to do something at the stove, I
          dumped my bowl into yours.

          phil Scovell