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Friday, October 12, 2012

Spilling the Beans

Photograph by Mary Mansfield


In November each year, family from far and near
Would travel in their cars, vans, and trucks,
From all across the nation for Thanksgiving vacation,
A festive celebration deluxe.

Back around ‘82, if my memory holds true,
Aunt Rose was to keep us all fed,
So she chose a meal with widespread appeal,
A batch of brown beans with cornbread.

It’s quite the trick to survive cooking for twenty-five,
And Aunt Rose was well up to the mission.
With a quite happy look, Aunt Rose set out to cook
A warm pot of  some down-home nutrition.

So into the pot went the beans that she bought,
But things didn’t quite look like her plan.
“That just won’t be enough,” so she proceeded to stuff
Four more pounds of brown beans in the pan.

Now the beans that she bought to put into that pot
Were beans that had never been soaked,
And as most cooks should know, unsoaked beans tend to grow,
So Aunt Rose stirred, waited, and hoped.

To Aunt Rose’s surprise, right before her shocked eyes
Those brown beans began to swell up.
Her panic was showing as those beans just kept growing,
Filling up all her bowls, pans, and cups.

She borrowed containers from all of her neighbors,
Seeking any support she could find
To stem the great surge that began to emerge,
A crisis of the culinary kind.

Aunt Rose needed the means to dispose of those beans,
And the family clan seemed heaven-sent;
Feeding our brood took a whole lot of food
So straight into Bean-land we went.

We ate beans in the morning; even with forewarning
The pairing still came a shock.
Lord knows we weren’t ready for beans with spaghetti.
We ate those brown beans ‘round the clock.

Beans on buttered toast, beans served with pot roast,
Beans every which way we could fashion.
Bean salad and mash, bean burritos and hash,
Just the sight of more beans left us ashen.

Now the point of this tale is not to regale
Of the need for attentive bean soaking,
But to honor Aunt Rose despite her cooking woes,
And to make up for the thirty years of joking.


~~~ This poem is based on a real bean disaster suffered by my own Aunt Rose, a story that has become the stuff of family legends.  I began this poem during the Poetic Bloomings prompt asking us to write about our favorite food, but it fit so well with this week’s prompt from Poetic Bloomings wanting stories from family vacation.  The form is a Triquatrain; you can fine more information about that particular form here.

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