A Near Miss
In the retelling, they called it a near miss; she called it an honest mistake.
Beams of spring-time sun from the kitchen window had carried a hankering for fresh rhubarb pie.
As David left for work, she called out “Do you have any rhubarb?”
“Out by the side of the house,” he said. As he pulled the door shut, the keys on his belt loop danced their familiar jingle.
Within minutes, she had the bottom crust draped into the pie plate. She grabbed the kitchen shears and the colander then left in search of rhubarb. Just around the corner of the house, near a stretch of rampant violets, she found the patch of large green leaves. She painfully stooped to isolate the stalks in the dank soil. They proved too tough for scissor cuts. She headed back for a sharp-bladed knife and sawed off enough to overflow the colander. She pulled the leaves then went inside to rinse the stalks.
She tried to peel and cut them but they were woody. She needed the meat cleaver to chop them up. Putting them on to cook, she hoped they’d tender up. But, even after 45 minutes of a rolling boil, they were still hard. Her patience used up, she left them in the sink and walked away.
When David got home, she told him of her failed attempt to make the rhubarb pie.
He glanced in the sink, gently placed his hand on her shoulder, and asked “Where did you find these?”
“Just around the corner of the house” she said.
A kindly chuckle sneaked from between his graying moustache and beard. “The rhubarb is at the far end of the house”, he said. “What you have here is some very old burdock.”
Now it was her turn to laugh.