Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I hate broccoli.

Every day, I choke it down like medicine.  It's because of an article I read years ago.  There's a chemical called "sulforaphane" present in broccoli that helps to reduce your chances of breast cancer.

I made up my mind, after giving birth to our sons, that I'd do any thing not to get breast cancer.  Even eat broccoli.  I've tried every way imaginable to make it more palatable - steamed it, dipped it, and smothered it with cheese.  It's still broccoli.  Finally, I bought a juicer.  Now I drink my broccoli.  It's absolutely vile, but it goes down a lot faster than munching it like a work horse.

I had a little meltdown last weekend, and that's what got me thinking about broccoli.  It started out with the furnace, which is on its last legs.  The furnace man told us it's time to replace it, and with the government rebate for new high efficiency furnaces, we could install a new one for just under 6,000 dollars.  He seemed to think that would make us happy.  What universe do furnace men come from?

I was sucking on a lollipop brooding about the furnace when I broke a tooth - a big back molar.  That pretty much did it.  I know I wrote last week that I was thankful for all my blessings.  But screw it.  Thanksgiving was over, my chest was coming off in two weeks, and I was sitting in a cold house with a broken tooth.

That's when I had a meltdown.  Sneaking to the back of the house, I curled up in an ancient recliner and cried big, blubbery, nose-dripping tears.  When my husband discovered me some time later and begged to know what in the world had happened, I said to him very rationally, "I'm never eating broccoli again!"

The next morning, however, the world righted itself just like it always does. My adored aunt Patty sent me a consoling email, wonderful Louise at Dr. Janda's office made an appointment for me to get my tooth fixed Monday afternoon, and my crazy sister-in-law Mary called me from Montrose, Colorado, and made me laugh.  That girl's so funny she could host her own late night talk show.  Then Peg Ley, my high school typing teacher and one of my dearest friends, accompanied me to Deb's house to take over a pot of John's chicken noodle soup and Peg's own delectable brownies.  At 85, Peg is the most beautiful woman alive, and even though she just lost her husband, she always thinks of everybody else, including me.

Deb looks wonderful.  Not even a week out of her surgery, she's staying on top of her pain medication and managing very well.  Brian and the girls are pampering her big time, and she seems contented and relieved.

Finally, I received an email from one of my former students yesterday.  Drew Kime, a six-foot beauty, graduated a year and a half ago with our younger son Tommy.  "You know, Mrs. Howard, I'm only 20," she wrote, "but I'd get rid of my boobs in a second.  My long legs get me all the attention, and you've still got that going for you!" 

Okay, okay.  I'm back to being thankful.  My tooth is fixed, John says we can crutch along on the old furnace for a while, and I am very much blessed with friends and family, young and old.  Just the same, I moved the juicer back to the dark recesses of the counter top.  Maybe I'll drag it out someday to make a fruit slushy.

But I'm never eating broccoli again.