All through my life, people have been telling me how good vegetables were for me and that I should eat them all the time. Even as a child, I was a little suspicious of all this pandering on behalf of vegetables. If vegetables were as good as people say they are, why are people trying so hard to sell them to me?
"Go ahead," my mother would say to me at the supper table, "eat your vegetables. They're good for you." Then, "You cannot leave the table until you've eaten all your vegetables!"
This in and of itself has made eating vegetables a chore to be avoided at all cost. I have often wondered why I have had to eat through a plate of vegetables before I could touch my dessert. It just does not seem fair to me.
One of the reasons eating vegetables has been such a chore for me lies in its terminology. For example, there is a head of lettuce and an ear of corn. Why are vegetables associated with human body parts? Every time I hear these sorts of associations, I get myself in a real vegetable stew.
Recently, I spent some time traveling and after a while, I got a little weary of eating out at restaurants all the time. This whole thing finally broke when the waitress taking my order asked me, "Would you like a vegetable medley with that?"
Without even thinking, I responded, a little sarcastically, I am sure, "No, I'd rather listen to the Meat Cleaver Quartet."
Quite honestly, the vegetable medley is not music to my ears, even if it includes corn.
Don't get me wrong, I have eaten my share of vegetables throughout my life. Actually, the purpose of vegetables on your plate is to contrast the delicious taste of roast beef.
One vegetable I cannot take no matter how you slice it or dice it. I am referring, of course, to broccoli. Where in the world does broccoli comes from? And who, assuming they are in their right mind, decided to eat the first broccoli?
I know there are plenty of broccoli lovers out there who will be offended by my coarse remarks about their favorite vegetable. Everybody has a favorite vegetable and I would like to quickly point out that broccoli is not mine.
Just look at it. It looks like a little tree. I have never seen a tree anywhere that I thought to myself; I'd like to eat that tree. Up to this point in my life, I have resisted all temptation to eat trees, regardless of their size. In fact, I am thinking of starting a brand-new organization called, "Stop Eating Trees." It will go by the letters SET. The slogan will be, "Let me SET you straight on something." Then I will go into all the reasons why we should not eat trees.
I am fighting a losing battle at home because the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage will often prepare for herself a dish of broccoli and cheese. What a waste of good cheese.
I know someone will say to me, "Have you ever tried broccoli before?" The answer will be, yes. It was the most horrible experience I have ever had.
If you can get by it looking like a tree, you then need to chew it up in little bits, by then you discover how nasty it all tastes in your mouth. I do not know about anybody else, but I love my stomach too much to send down to it something like this.
Therefore, the wonderful world of vegetables and I have come to an agreement. It is a very simple agreement, and one I can live with the rest of my life.
I happened to be at the supermarket and as I wandered around, I found myself in front of the vegetable counter. There they were in all their assumed glory looking as fresh as a daisy. I never stood before such an assembly. I walked over to where the corn was so that the vegetables could hear me and I had a little chat with the entire group. The outcome was an amiable agreement.
Our agreement runs something like this; I will refrain from making sarcastic cuts about vegetables and dishing them if they, in return, stay off my supper dish.
The corn was all ears and the cabbage nodded her head in thoughtful agreement. The potatoes were all eyes and the section of string beans was trying to string me along with some kind of garden rhetoric. However, it was the lettuce that spoke up. "Sir, we all respect your opinion about us. And I promise we will let you alone if you lettuce alone."
People of different opinions should respect each other's opinions and live together in harmony. Even the Bible says, "But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend" (1 Corinthians 8:12-13 KJV).
Judging everybody by my opinions, I will needlessly offend someone. One man's vegetable just may be another man's heartburn.
The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife, Martha, in