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Spinach & Ham

School lunch on the right side of the table:
Jay: “What is that green stuff?”

Ms. Angel: “Spinach. Eat it and you’ll grow big and strong like Popeye.”

Jay: “Okay.” He lifts his fork, pokes it into the pile of spinach, brings back a huge mound, and nibbles the end of one little strand. His face lights up. “Uhm! Is good!” He munches the entire fork full then turns to Cass. “I is going to be big and stronged like Popeye!”

Cass: “Who Popeye?”

Scott: “I no know.”

And on the left side of the table:

Kelly: “What that green stuff?”

Me, shamelessly stealing from Ms. Angel: “Spinach. Eat it. You’ll grow big and strong like Popeye.”

Kelly: “Who Popeye?”

Me: “A sailor man.”

Kelly pokes the spinach, looks at me, and pokes the spinach again. “Where Popeye?”

Me: “Sailing I suppose.”

Kelly, doubtfully: “He eat spinach?”

Me: “Yes. He loves spinach. It makes his muscles grow big.”

Kelly: “Smells yucky.”

Me: “Tastes great.” I took a strand of his spinach and ate it. “Yum! You taste it.”

Kelly pulls one strand from the pile and watches it swing from his fork. He looks at me and says, “One bite?”

Me: “One. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to eat it.”

Kelly puts the strand of spinach in his mouth. His jaw works twice and he freezes with a look of horror on his face. “Augh!” A retching sound escapes him. He grabs his milk and chugs what remains in the carton. “Bleck!” He shudders again. “Poopy!”

Jay says: “I like it.”

Kelly looks at me. “You not tell me Jay like it.”

Me, wondering why that makes a difference: “Yes, Jay likes it. You want to try again?” I lift up a bit of spinach with his fork.

Kelly recoils. “No! Jay even eat vegtebas!” A gagging sound follows and suddenly Kelly looks even more horrified. He points at the spinach and looks at me. “Is dis a vegtebas?”

“Yes,” I say.

Kelly grabs his throat and falls over on the bench. “Ack. You trying to killed me!”

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. Hmm, my kids probably don’t know who Popeye is, either! I don’t think they’ve ever seen his shows. I enjoyed them as a kid.

    Poor vegetables. They get such a bad rap.

  2. Kila — I love veggies! I used to love Popeye, too. IT’s sad that the old cartoons are gone.

    Gawpo — don’t eat sail, silly.

    Nessa — Kelly is easiest to write about. The delays the other kids experience often make any stories I would like to tell about them sound too much like I am mocking their handicaps, which I most certainly am not. All my kids are great. Kelly just isn’t special ed.

    Neva — the boy has charisma.

    SN — no! I don’t want Popeye to rest in peace. I would like to go back in time to when kids were simpler and so were their carttons.

    Dr. John — I wouldn’t pay you to eat it, I would eat it for you! Yum!

    Polona — ask almost any five year old boy and you will most likely be assurred that vegetabas are deadly.

  3. Well, I LOVE spinach — but the HAM was way better!

    I tried and TRIED to think of a way to photograph narrow minded but I just couldn’t come up with it. My creative juices were on strike!

  4. I had a fear this story would turn out that kids don’t know popeye. Now my back hurts and my lumbago, whatever that might be, is acting up.

  5. The only way to get the kidlets to eat spinach is to hide it in the lasagna. They refuse to eat it the Maine way, or any way for that matter. But the lima beans? I just don’t get it. Spinach is way better than lima beans.

    The ham they only eat spiral sliced. Think I’ll threaten them with vegamite sammiches instead.


  6. Melli — that HAM is indeed Grade A, Choice.

    Doug — go eat some spinach, you’ll be fine.

    Sauerkraut — hide the fresh leaves in their salad. That’s yummy.

    Kat — Kelly — and OC — agree.

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