Okra: Ship it north A Southerner says Yankees deserve it

February 18, 1996|By Jess Webb

MART, Texas -- Morning sunlight streamed through the window and washed over the hardwood floor as I entered the kitchen to fill my coffee cup. It was one of those cool mornings when the world looked new. I bounced lightly across the room singing.

" Where the deer and the antelope sing."

"It's play!" my wife interrupted. "Deer and antelope don't sing, they play. Waylon Jennings sings. Whales sing. Antelope play."

I was unconvinced, but knew better than to belabor the point. If I won the "play-sing" battle, okra would undoubtedly appear on the lunch table.

In our house, okra is viewed as both crime and punishment. I consider it a crime and Carroll uses it as punishment. She actually prefers fried okra to popcorn for watching TV, and saves her okra at the cafeteria to eat as dessert.

It's enough to gag a goose.

Under certain circumstances I can eat fried okra, but being lost at sea for 17 days without food or water is not a frequent occurrence around Mart, Texas.

Boiled okra is another matter altogether. It is not only a crime against humanity, but sinful, and people who eat it are probably either Satanists or aliens.

Before the UGHOs (United Gentry for Heavenly Okra), get excited, let me say that I am not some transplanted Yankee. I am a Texan born and bred, surrounded by UGHOs from birth.

I hasten to add that I speak only for myself before my relatives, UGHOs to a man, descend en mass and flog me with okra stalks -- a use for which okra is admirably suited, being tougher than whang leather.

I have occasionally seen pickled okra packed in gift boxes in Northern shops and always thought it was the South's ultimate revenge.

We not only get rid of a noxious weed, but require the Yankees to pay handsomely for it. What could be sweeter?

Okra haters of the world arise. You are not alone.

Jess Webb, a retired engineer and author, writes for the Waco Tribune-Herald.

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