Thursday, January 29, 2015


The best laid plans gang aft awry, or whatever the exact quote is. I had a plan for this October, because I’ve had borderline too many commitments to handle, among them, a plot this year in our town's community garden. I was lucky to get a space in this gold-plated community effort, for once my town decides to do something,  it is all-the-way luxury class. We have an electronic gate, a sturdy fence, and the township supplies aged compost and sturdy raised boxes. We’ve had a chilly autumn, so this senior waited for the stillest and warmest day to finish up. I’d watched Weather World faithfully--predictions from the Wise Men at the Penn State Department of Meteorology. An upcoming Monday and Tuesday would be the last hurrah of Indian Summer, warm and still. Perfect, I thought, as this was the drop dead-week for clearing up.

In the meantime, I was eating vegetables, both my own and those of generous garden plot neighbors. On the day of near-doom, I’d enjoyed a delicious lunch of green peppers stuffed with beans, of Brussels sprouts and bright orange winter squash. I'd finished the meal with a fresh apple—a crisp, yet sugary Empire--fresh from the tree.  The coup de grace to this high fiber orgy was an mid-afternoon snack consisting of a big, crunchy, raw-from-the-garden carrot.

(Oh, and there is a backstory. Significant portions of my gut are gone after a long illness followed by two Trekkian "cut and sew like garments" surgeries.) 

By 5 p.m., I knew I was in trouble. By midnight, the pains were child-birth-big. It was time to head to the ER for the ritual of vein piercing and hydration. Afterward, I was a sad-sack hunk of flesh, still breathing only because of attentive nursing and good old Ringer’s Lactase solution.   Needless to say, I was in hospital during those two perfectly warm days during which I’d planned to make my final harvest, haul dirt, and "put the ground to bed."

Still standing were two four-foot foot plus stalks of Brussels sprout and a bed of kale and one of beets. Only the beets, after my release from the hospital, were still on the menu—at least for the next few months, they said. After that, caution was advised regarding how much fiber I attempt to put through my system.  My kind neighbor was happy to receive the sprouts. The dino leaves of Lacinto kale went into the freezer for some distant dish of Colcannon.

It was sobering to realize that ingesting a raw carrot could, in my case, become a flirtation with death. I'd confused a desire "to live normally,” with what was, in cold reality, possible. Simply "eating what I wanted" had wandered into the Kingdom of Denial. The episode was one of those humbling -- but inevitable -- reality checks that are part of aging.

~Day of the Dead Altar, Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian~

 Juliet Waldron       Amazon Author Page                            Website                 Facebook Author Page


  1. Juliet, So glad you survived. I have a child who can't eat raw carrots at all. Cooked is all right. Love your books and have read some of them more than once

  2. Thanks, Janet. A pratfall of an end, for sure, had it "done me in." ;)

  3. Oh Juliet, I hate to laugh at what was so obviously a real crisis for you, but the way you described it was just hilarious. I could actually hear you relating your experience - and no I do not want to share - I know what those kind of pains are like. You are such a talented writer - only you could make a fatal carrot into a piece of pure humor, and like Janet I am so delighted that you survided. Jude

  4. Juliet, so sorry for the pain you suffered. Your blogpost was a good reminder to me to eat more fresh vegetables, something I'm sadly lacking. During the war, I had a Victory Garden.

  5. Thanks to everyone who posted...and when you do this stuff to yourself, you've got to make a funny story out of it--either that, or weep--which is mostly useless.


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