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Most mothers urge, even threaten, their kids to get them to eat their veggies. “Eat your spinach. It’s good for you. Don’t you want to grow up to be big and strong?”

Well, it may have worked for Popeye’s mother, but it’s the last thing I do with Gill. She’ll only be strong and healthy if she gives her veggies a pass. And so, you can understand, dear readers, my chagrin — dare I say panic — when Gill announced yesterday that she’d been on a bender…a three day veggie bender.

With a huge Cheshire cat grin on her face, she confessed:”Ma! I had the most wonderful salad for dinner. Delightfully fresh lettuce, peppery arugula, sweet tomatoes, red peppers…I was in spasms of ecstasy.”

“Harumph…more likely colon spasms ’cause your Crohn’s is preparing to go into eruption mode. You know it’s gonna blow like Vesuvius. Are you sure you’ve thought this through? A vegetable is a lethal weapon for you. It should be on your personal Most Wanted list to be taken down, stamped out, eradicated. Please do us all a favour and step away from the veggie crisper!”

I know alcoholism is a serious disease or, more accurately, addiction, but there are times I’d rather deal with Gill drinking too much alcohol than devouring too many beans and legumes. And trust me, she is addicted to legumes — especially in the form of peanut butter. I recall one summer when she was a teen. Her lunch every day was a peanut butter sandwich. Heck, sometimes she’d even forego the bread and eat it right from the jar…which resulted in an unscheduled  trip to see the gastroenterologist. Writhing in pain, doubled in half and clutching her belly, she took the news to avoid peanut butter badly. “But I love it! I must have it,” she cried. To which the doc replied caustically, “Hey, it’s your belly, not mine.”

With age comes maturity and the ability to curb one’s impulses.

Then there’s Gill.

When dreaming about the delights of her upcoming trip home, she focuses, not on friends and family she’ll visit, not on the naps she’ll take to eliminate the work-related bags under her eyes, not the outings and fun things we’ll do together. No…all she wants is to have a three week bender of corn, tomatoes, peaches and lettuce…followed by a chaser of peanut butter.

And so I ask myself, does she has a masochistic streak of which I’m unaware? Has Britain rendered her suicidal? Does she hate me, her loving mother? ‘Cause you know who’s going to be left picking up the pieces when her colon rebels. Good thing the stores have had major sales of toilet paper in recent weeks. And I’m not talking the 6-pack size. I found a fifty-roll pack that might get us through a week. The only good thing about our massive consumption of toilet paper is that it eliminates the tension around replacing the roll on the bathroom holder. Ours is used up so quickly it doesn’t GET to the holder. I simply leave a stack (never less than five rolls) on the counter.

I made the mistake of mentioning to Gill that strawberry season had finally arrived. “Oh, Ma, were they red?”

“Deep red.”

“Sweet?”

“Like eating sugar…”

“Large berries?”

“Huge…”

” Juicy too, I’ll bet?”

“Oh, the juiciest…I had nectar trickling down my chin. ”

“Oh I can’t wait to have fresh, luscious fruit…and your fruit pies, Ma! I’m drooling just thinking of peach pie…”

“Okay, that does it! I’m beginning to feel like I’m having phone sex with you over fruit! This is just wrong on so many different levels. Go eat some stale rice crackers until your colon feels better. And please, go easy on the peanut butter!”

Silence.

“You’re eating it out of the jar with your fingers right now, aren’t you?! Aargh, you’re hopeless!…..”

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