Smedley Goes Vegan
Ernest Smedley, after his ill-fated journey to Needles, CA, remembering that he had a bevy of affluent nieces and nephews living in nearby Boulder, Colorado, headed out in a cloud of dust driving a 1983 F150 Ford pickup “borrowed” from his second cousin, Klaude Klappers. Ernest figured that he could use a little first class free-loading after the Needles fiasco, and who better to furnish this than his young, wealthy relatives who escaped from the molehills of Arkansas right after college to the righteous mountains of the Rockies and high paying corporate careers.
Smedley’s first stop was at niece, Amykins Smedley-Goldberg’s six bedroom mansion set in a gated community bordering on the exclusive PGA Boulder Meadows Golf Club. After a lengthy hassel at the gate guard house, set in motion in that niece Amykins was a little slow in remembering she even had an “Uncle Ernest” much less that he was at her doorstep unannounced and, for sure, uninvited, and after the guard insisted that Ernest park his pickup truck in an area outside the gated community, Ernest finally arrived at Amy’s front door as transported in a four passenger golf cart.
Niece Amykins, processing mixed feelings of a little grace, a bushel of suspicion, and a lot of nausea, ushered Uncle Ernest, our hero, upstairs to a bedroom she declared was set aside for “guests” and left him to “freshen up,” perhaps this being more than just a hint considering Ernest’s six days of unwashed travel. Ernest plopped his blue cloth Wal-Mart travel bag on an elegant quilt as framed by four eight foot tall posts supporting a gauzy blue canopy, and after peeling off his crusty duds, he headed for the bath tub/shower area part of the room. The setup here was one that Ernest was most unfamiliar with, especially since all this plumbing was indoors!
Ernest heard on the bedroom intercom that dinner was going to be served in ten minutes and would he please join the family awaiting him downstairs. For a brief moment considering his surroundings, Ernest thought he was a character in Downton Abbey. And as he glided down the spiral staircase leading to the dining room, he truly thought he was actually playing the role of a visiting royal relative……..UNTIL THE FOOD WAS SERVED!
After a few minutes of some very awkward small talk made ever so by the monumental contrast between the shabby workshop jumpsuit as worn by Ernest and the designer, organic, hand-sewn by Algerian Bedowins, cotton wardrobes covering each and every of the five Smedley-Goldbergs and with Amykins trying to explain who Ernest was and why he was even there, dinner was about to be served. But first, however, Amykins’ husband, a hairy, muscular fellow named Ruben, read a short devotional from The New Revised Edition of the Talmud, followed by a Yoga/Hindu chant sung by Amykins, and then three “Hail Marys”, one each by the three preppy and peppy Smedley-Goldberg children, all hung with exotic Old Testament names of Esther, Job, and Lamentations!
After the serving maid, Maria Consuela Lupita Gomez, brought in the first dishes of the meal, Smedley did a double-take, now seeing himself, not as a duke in an English castle, but as starving peasant featured in a documentary titled “The Plight of the Underfed and Mal-nourished People of Botswana!” The first dish passed was roadside picked dandelion salad topped with ground poke chard (whatever that is!) This tantalizing item was followed by a plate of non GMO pumpkin seeds sprinkled over “naturally fertilized” sliced heart-shaped raw red beets. The main course was free range asparagus stalks (the edible spear tops were missing) mixed with antibiotic-free chopped turnips. There was no dessert served. As Smedley looked about the 18th Century Chippendale dinner table, he could not help but notice the sickly, anemic pallor of his five dining companions, how their exotic Gobi Desert label robes just hung on their skeletonal frames, Ernest thought, “This isn’t a home of healthy, affluent people! This is a failed survival camp!”
Ernest, a serial vegetable hater, was looking for some pet, hopefully a very hungry rabbit hanging around under the table so he could sneak what he could not eat – which was everything – to the unsuspecting critter, so as not to offend niece Amykins and her lovely, but skin and bones family. Quickly excusing himself, claiming he was suffering from malaria and needed to get his mosquito netting out of his truck, Ernest grabbed his Wal-Mart travel bag and ran to and out the guard gate and hopped into his Ford 150 pickup and left in another cloud of dust, heading to the nearest McDonald’s.- to everyone’s relief!