“Time for Dinner” Missy’s mom called down the hall. Four kids scrambled about to wash their hands and run to the kitchen. Missy’s dad was already at the table as her mom stood at the counter getting the food on the kid’s plates. Missy walked up to the table to sit on the chair at the very end. Just before she could sit her sister Sherry, the oldest of the clan, grabbed her shoulder. “No Missy, I’m sitting here! You sit over there because it really is the perfect chair for you. See its right next to Ralphy and you really love him so it is perfect for you. I sit here in the 7 year old chair and Candy can sit right next to me!” Missy did not completely understand the logic, but her sister was very persuasive and it sounded like she knew exactly what she was talking about so Missy sat in the chair next to her brother Ralphy who took his fork and spoon in both hands and started playing them like drums on his plate. Seeing that her dad did not object to the sound, she joined in pounding her plate. Of course Candy started in as soon as she was up on her knees and Sherry started dictating how all the parts should sound together.
“Alright kids, it’s time to eat.” Missy’s dad finally said with a smile.
Sherry got her food first, “Oh yes, Cream of Corn!” Missy felt her stomach grumble and was so excited, she loved corn. Missy’s plate was next. Where was it? All she saw was their Thanksgiving meal leftovers… turkey meat, mashed potatoes, corn bread and that yellow runny stuff she so skillfully avoided this past Thursday. After the prayer Missy seemed to question the yellow configuration, it might be the corn. After avoiding it as long as possible and enjoying the rest of her food, she blankly starred at it. “Eat your cream of corn Missy.” Her mom said. Oh good, it was corn. She leaned down and smelled the plate and jerked her head back with a frown.
“She does not like it mom.” Sherry reminded everyone. “Remember when she wouldn’t eat it before?”
“Sherry!” Her mom said with a hush motion.
Oh yea, Missy thought, this tastes like barf! Even smelling it brought the horrifying memory back of her first bite of this slobbery slime when she was probably only Candy’s age. One little nibble and she had hated it! At the time she watched her younger brother, then only a baby, refuse to eat his food. Realizing for the first time that she actually had a choice in the matter, Missy decided that this horrible tasting goo was not going near her lips again. She remembered her mom getting more frustrated at each refusal to eat it. “Missy!” Her mom had finally said, knowing how much Missy hated being dirty, “If you don’t take a bite right now I’m going to rub that in your face!” Missy remembered her mom making the threat. She remembered tearfully objecting. She also remembered the feeling of that horrible smelling runny yellow gung being rubbed all over her face. The worst stink and the most awful feeling in the world, just like death! Of course now she was older, 5 years old to be exact, maybe it’s not as bad as she remembers. Candy, her 2 year old sister was gobbling it up with no problem. Missy took the smallest bit on the edge of her spoon. She stared at the substance for several moments. She looked around and noticed that even Ralphy, the most picky eater after Sherry, was finishing up and being excused from the table.
It’s not like its manna, she thought, that horrible stuff that her grandma told her the Isolates had to eat in the dessert for like 400 years! That stuff had no taste but those people were thankful because it kept them alive. So she just told herself that it’s corn, no big deal! Watching the rest of the kids get done, one by one, Missy mustered up the courage she needed. Quickly, she took in the bite and quickly, spit it out. Worse than she remembered! Gagging and coughing until it was all out she thought, how disgusting!
“Don’t spit out your food Missy!” Her mom quickly said. “You have to eat at least one bite.” NO! Fearing the nightmare of this yucky guckyness on any part of her skin, she finished her repulsing bite avoiding another cream of corn face plant. The taste tweaked her face and ruined everything else she had eaten. “Missy, you are a good eater. Don’t pretend you don’t like this. It’s just your imagination.”
But Missy knew she hated cream of corn. She would rather eat a whole plate of that no-tasting manna then one bite of this! How could she explain to her mom that there really were exceptions to her willing palate? “Mom, ah-eed awter!” Her mom gave her some water. There didn’t seem to be enough water to wash it away.
The cream of corn aroma made her choke again, reminding her of the dreadful experience of having that devil dish on her toddler face. Thinking about it brought up a gag reflex and placed a shiver down her spine. Hearing her sisters and brother starting up another music band with their tooth brushes and the toothpaste tube, Missy hurried to the bathroom thanking God that was over with. She never before looked so forward to brushing her teeth free from dinner.
“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”