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Cauliflower

June 9, 2004

The other day I snitched some cauliflower Mom had rinsed and draining, and I thought of my aunt. Every time I have cauliflower I think of my aunt.

She died several years ago, and I drove Mom and Dad to her funeral. It was typical, as funerals go. My auntís sisterís sense of propriety won out over my auntís wishes, which was OK, I suppose. After all, funerals are really for the living.

I desperately wanted to bring a head of cauliflower to place with the other floral arrangements.

My aunt was a farm lady who always said she wanted to be buried in overalls. She told me this herself.

The cauliflower incident occurred during a family reunion. Momís side of the family has the art of running reunions down to a science. Dadís side of the family, not so much, and Mom and my aunt and I ended up running the kitchen by ourselves while everybody else visited. At one point, my aunt and I were preparing a veggie tray. Both of us loved cauliflower, and we kept coming up with reasons why this floret or that floret was imperfect and needed to be eaten, till there was too little left to be worth putting on the tray, so we ate that, too.

Later on, my aunt told Mom that that had been the best part of the reunion for her, goofing off in the kitchen with me. And itís my only memory of the reunion that really stands out. And, ever after, every mention of cauliflower would send us both into gales of laughter.

I wouldnít have placed it there anonymously, of course. I would have put a card with my name and ďI remember.Ē It would have been fitting, especially since she didnít get to be buried in overalls like she wanted. She would have loved it. Some people would have been horrified, and she would have loved that even more. But she would also love knowing I think of her every time I see a humble head of cauliflower.