Whenever Frank arrives with smoked turkey (always a pound of it), he also brings American salami that tastes just like hot dogs (always a pound of it). We do not enjoy either of those items. Never have—never will. However, we say grace, spread a half a cup of mayo on the roll and eat what’s in front of us—because we’re reasonable.

         I’ve talked to Frank numerous times about the family’s food preferences, with extra emphasis on my own particular tastes. Last Saturday, Frank arrived home from his half day of work at 2:15. We expected him by 12:30 but he called at 1:45 to say he was running late. He said he had just pulled into the supermarket and I gently reminded him that we prefer the home style turkey, rolls without seeds, non-sour pickles and plain potato chips. I believe his parting words were “Got it.”   New paragraph:        We finally sat down to a late lunch at 2:30. I set the table and put out the condiments and we bowed our heads for grace. By the time our youngest child completed her prayer, I lifted my head to see Frank stuffing things into the kitchen garbage bin.

     “What are you doing?”,  I asked him.

     “Getting a head start.”

     “On what?”

     “Cleaning up!”

     “Frank, please sit down.” The turkey was passed (along with a pound of the weird salami). It looked a kind of pink but Frank suggested it was probably a bit undercooked. I assembled my long anticipated sandwich and took a big bite while the kids chatted

about their week at vacation bible school. I chatted and chewed and then my mouth froze.

     “Is this smoked turkey?”


     “It tastes like smoked turkey.”

     “Well, it’s not.”

     “Frank, are you sure?”


     “Did you specifically ask for the home style turkey?”

     “I pointed at it through the glass—it’s home style.”

     “Did you ever mention “home style?”

     “Ellie, I told you I pointed at it.”

     “This is smoked turkey.”

     “But I didn’t ask for smoked turkey.”

     “But you didn’t ask for home style either!”

     “It’s fine—just eat it.” I believe that was the wrong thing for him to say at that particular moment. Never mind that the pickles were sour. Never mind that he brought home a two-liter bottle of root beer. Never mind that the rolls had garlic flavoring. My blood pressure and voice rose simultaneously. I no longer felt the desire to be reasonable.