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A Plate of Peas 一碗豌豆

http://en.eol.cn  来源:  作者:  2009-03-30    

 

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  My grandfather died when I was a small boy, and my grandmother started staying with us for about six months every year. She lived in a room that doubled as my father's office, which we referred to as "the back room." She carried with her a powerful aroma. I don't know what kind of perfume she used, but it was the double-barreled, ninety-proof, knockdown, render-the-victim-unconscious, moose-killing variety. She kept it in a huge atomizer and applied it frequently and liberally. It was almost impossible to go into her room and remain breathing for any length of time. When she would leave the house to go spend six months with my Aunt Lillian, my mother and sisters would throw open all the windows, strip the bed, and take out the curtains and rugs. Then they would spend several days washing and airing things out, trying frantically to make the pungent odor go away.

  This, then, was my grandmother at the time of the infamous pea incident.

  It took place at the Biltmore Hotel, which, to my eight-year-old mind, was just about the fancies place to eat in all of Providence. My grandmother, my mother, and I were having lunch after a morning spent shopping. I grandly ordered a salisbury steak, confident in the knowledge that beneath that fancy name was a good old hamburger with gravy. When brought to the table, it was accompanied by a plate of peas.

  I do not like peas now. I did not like peas then. I have always hated peas. It is a complete mystery to me why anyone would voluntarily eat peas. I did not eat them at home. I did not eat them at restaurants. And I certainly was not about to eat them now.

  "Eat your peas," my grandmother said.

  "Mother," said my mother in her warning voice. "He doesn't like peas. Leave him alone."
  My grandmother did not reply, but there was a glint in her eye and a grim set to her jaw that signaled she was not going to be thwarted. She leaned in my direction, looked me in the eye, and uttered the fateful words that changed my life: "I'll pay you five dollars if you eat those peas."

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