This is one of the rare times I wrote out one of grandpa’s stories almost verbatim right after he told it. I never showed him my narrative versions of his stories. I wish I had, now that it is too late.


Clifford and Richard, both under the age of 10, late 1920s.
Clifford and Richard, late 1920s.

I remember one Saturday during the Depression, Mother {Nellie} came home beaming about the bargain she’d found at the market.

It was cheap and had little waste. Since meat was expensive and no waste was important, this was the true “meal deal.”

Cliff and I rushed to the table, our mouths watering in anticipation, to see her unwrap this bargain.

Our mouths sagged when we saw the cow tongue in all of it’s taste-budded glory flop out of the package.

Cliff and I refused to eat it.

Poor Mother.

I’m sure she found some way to make us eat it unawares, not unlike your mother’s attempt at spinach-liver meatballs.

The funny thing is, almost sixty years later, my father brought home cow tongue for us to eat, too. I remember Mom making it into sandwiches, but she didn’t remove the tastebuds. We weren’t allowed to refuse to eat it, but I know my siblings and I hated every bite. We couldn’t get past the texture!

Grandpa, Dad, and Mom, in our backyard, c. 1989.
Grandpa, Dad, and Mom, in our backyard, c. 1989.
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