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FOOD OF THE GODS

Somewhere in the middle of yesterday I stepped in dog poo in my parents’ yard, a real big patty that got both shoes. It was like, a veritable cow patty pile of poo. I was so afraid Yuyu would see them and get grossed out. I’d heard about people from India having a kind of real distaste for anything to do with shoes because of dirt, and especially people of his heritage (Brahmans). I set the shoes aside to clean discretely before we left, and promptly forgot about them.

In the hustle bustle of activity before dinner, my grandmother prepared a pumpkin cream cheese dish to schmear on graham crackers. My aunt was to bring pumpkin pie. As my grandmother stirred the schmear, she became fearful of having crossed some sphere of territory of my aunt’s, that the schmear was too dessert-like and also in competition with the flavor of the pumpkin pie.

Yuyu and I had made kheer for dessert as well. Kheer is called ‘the food of the gods.’ It is holy because it has so much cow milk; cows represent Mother Earth. Kheer takes a labor of love to prepare. It’s like a pudding made of rice, milk, nuts and raisins. I stirred the kheer constantly for an hour as it simmered.

So, I was fearful that I’d set my aunt’s dish up for competition, it having been discussed that there are spheres of territory at this Thanksgiving dinner. But everyone took it in stride, a heap of kheer side by side with pumpkin pie.

As my mom chomped away on some bite of dessert, she bit down onto a hard object. ‘Oh!’ she exclaimed, and pulled something out of her mouth. A penny!

“I don’t know where it came from, the pudding or the pie,” Mom said.

“Well, it couldn’t have been our pudding,” I said.

“It couldn’t have been my pie,” said my aunt.

My mom put the penny in her mouth again. “Pie crust,” she said.

“No, it couldn’t have been the pie,” asserted my aunt.

“You are lucky,” Yuyu said. “Copper is very lucky in my country. You are going to be rich.”

“Penny from Heaven,” I said.

After dessert, we had to leave. I realized then I’d forgotten about the shoes. There was no way to deal with them gracefully other than to borrow my Mom’s shoes and put mine in a plastic bag to ‘isolate’ the contamination. I tucked the bag into a corner of my car trunk.

We drove to the end of my parents’ street. Smith and Yuyu said at once, ‘I smell dog shit.’ So I had to tell them about the bag in the trunk. But the smell was really strong, so it was decided that everyone would get out of the car and check their shoes. Yuyu was fine. The shoes I borrowed from my Mom were fine. But now Smith had stepped in shit. I wonder if it was the same pile.

“I wish I had stepped in the shit,” Yuyu said. “In India, it is considered lucky. It means you are going to get rich.”

Lady


4 Responses to “FOOD OF THE GODS”

  1. kevin says:

    Great story. According to Indian tradition, I should be a millionaire! Maybe it depends if it is the left or right foot…?

  2. MadM says:

    Ha – I have almost the same response as Kevin. Great story, and I should be a multi-millionaire by now.

  3. Jen says:

    What a great ending! I had quite a laugh.

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