The real Little Green Man from Mars is alive and well and living in Appalachia.

The Truth Is a Lone Assassin by Jonco Bugos

Monday, September 1, 2008

Summer Food

Now that summer is almost over, I'm already missing summer food. I'm also reminded of one of the delightful aspects of growing up in middle-class America during the 1950s and 1960s. It makes me so glad that I'm an Earthling, as well as an American, this time around. These pleasant memories are about eating candy, food and ice cream in the summertime. Whoever invented ice cream is right up there, real high, on my list of great Earthlings. Along with the inventor of beer and pizza and milk chocolate. But I digress.

Summer food was, and still is, quite different than cold-weather food simply because most of it can be eaten outside. So, even if it's something as simple as a hamburger, which can be eaten any season of the year, you only get to eat a hamburger out-of-doors in the good ol' summertime without being stared at by your relatives and neighbors. Especially when it's cooked outside. Whoever invented the charcoal grill is right up there with the inventor of ice cream and all the rest.

But I've always been a little different than most Americans when it comes to eating red meat. I never liked the medium rare, juicy burgers or steaks than most male Earthlings just love to eat. I like my red meat grilled until it's brown, through-and-through. I guess I don't like being reminded that I'm eating something that once had four legs. I also like my fried chicken without the skin and I was lucky because that's the way I got it. Along with potato salad or macaroni salad and cole slaw, corn-on-the-cob and watermelon. Corn-on-the-cob and watermelon were two absolutely delightful summer experiences and they still are. And that's because, besides the wonderful taste and all the devil-may-care slobbers, all the mess goes on the ground or on the picnic table. No one in America seems to mind if a picnic table gets hogged up. Apparently, that's what a picnic table is for.

And don't even get me started about ice cream. As a little boy, the fact that an ice cream cone always melted faster than you could eat it on a hot summer day and began running down your neck and even down you arm meant nothing at all to me. Most of it went into my kid mouth and that was the important thing. Only grownups bothered to run toward you with a paper towel or a napkin and only a mother felt duty-bound to fetch a damp wash cloth for the inevitable clean-up. Soft ice cream sure melted faster than hand-dipped but it sure tasted better. Whoever invented soft ice cream should have been given the Congressional Medal of Honor, no matter what country or planet that person hailed from.

Even candy seemed to be a lot more fun to eat during the summer months. Don't ask me why. Memories of my previous life on Mars would often surface as I ate candy in the summertime. Earth candy could be licked or sucked, like lollipops or root beer barrels, or chewed, like taffy and chocolate bars. Whereas, on Mars, everything — no matter what it was — was simply absorbed through the skin, just like nourishment on a lot of other, more highly-advanced planets. Chocolate candy was my favorite confection of all, and it still is. But, as a grown-up Earthling now with new-found grown-up tastes, I have developed a serious addiction to white Canada Mints (the peppermint ones) whenever I can find them. In the summertime they get soft and can be easily chewed. And they never melt in the sun or the heat and run down your face. But in the winter the house heat makes them hard as a rock so I only eat Canada mints between May and November. Idn't nat somepin'?

Yep, Earth can be a fun planet if you're fortunate enough to have enough to eat, which a lot of Earthlings don't. And it wasn't until I was a grown up on Earth that I discovered the sad fact that most Earthlings who have plenty to eat simply aren't willing to share it with those who don't. That kind of takes the fun out of eating as a grown-up Earthling. Hell, I'd gladly share my food, and even my candy and ice cream and Canada Mints, with those less fortunate than me. But I'm surrounded all the time by other Earthlings who always seem to have enough to eat.

Maybe we're supposed to actively seek out those who don't get enough to eat, no matter where they might live. Maybe that's one of the reasons for having enough food to eat. Maybe it's even the most important reason for having enough. But, most of us Earthlings are just so busy enjoying our great bounty that we simply aren't practiced enough to seek out and share our blessings with those who are less fortunate.

And that ought to be a lesson worth learning before we move on to the next planet.