Bury My Cabbage at Wounded Knee

I love having guest posts and Binko has done another one!  Enjoy!  ~PWSux

My ex-husband turned 55 this week.  He’s no Marlboro Man.  The closest he’s been to a horse is the ticket counter at the Sunland Race Park in El Paso, unless you count the horse-faced girl of nineteen who I caught, well, nevermind.  It’s all slop under the trough, twelve years post-divorce, and in the best interests of our two sons, I keep it kind.  So, I decided to make him a birthday surprise: Edna Mae’s Escalloped Cabbage, a recipe straight from the horse’s… oops, I mean The Pioneer Woman’s keyboard.

I read the recipe with some trepidation.  The ingredient list mostly consists of processed goodies – Cheez Whiz and Cream of Whatever soup – along with a head of cabbage and a little paprika for color.

“I recommend it without reservation!”  Pioneer Woman enthusiastically chirps under a photograph of a rectangular Pyrex pan filled with rows of artfully placed cabbage lumps.

I headed off to the local grocers to purchase the necessary components of concoction.

Now, this wasn’t in the recipe, but I figured it would give me the gumption to call the ex and invite him over for dinner:

Wine not?

I set the wine in my basket and headed around the store, marking one item, then another, from my shopping list.  A man stood in front of Wal-Mart’s “Great Value” branded milk, both arms balancing an overstuffed hand basket filled with Twinkies, Sara Lee pound cake, two Hungry Man dinners – Salisbury Steak and Chicken Cacciatore, a clear plastic box filled with fake butter croissants.  I looked at my own push basket.  The wine, two hefty cabbages, a dozen free-range eggs, six lemons, two bunches of cilantro, a pound of seeded grapes, a box of pressed soy, broccoli, a carton of organic low fat milk, one large can of Cream of Chicken Soup, one glass jar of Cheez Whiz.

“Heh. You must be one of those healthy people.”

He leered at my basket, as if it sprouted cantaloupe breasts.  He held his goods close, but his girth prevented his nose from inhaling the imprinted cardboard housing his treats.

“I just try to eat low on the food chain. I have kids.  I have to teach them how to eat.  Except for the Cheez Whiz and goopy soup, but I can tell ya, that’s an aberration.”

A woman to my left turned around, stared at my sparse goods, then moved her purse, her torso, so I couldn’t measure her motherhood.  Her toddler shifted in the grocery cart seat, tried to lurch and grab a small bottle of chocolate milk.  She screamed when her mom slapped her wrist, her yellow-ribboned ponytail cracking like thunder.  I tried not to wince at my self-righteous words.  I wished I kept quiet, just laughed at the man with the heart attack horn of plenty instead of handing him a shopping list of the ways I think I’m better.

“What the hell is a person like you doing here?”

The man laughed as he spoke.  His groceries rose and fell with the shake of his belly.  I knew what he meant, knew the Wal-Mart stocked tofu for the short list of people like me, people who lived in this cattle-fed quadrant of the west despite, well, things like Cheez Whiz and Cream of Roadkill.

“I like it here. Where else should I live?”

He laughed.  He liked my answer, and his cheeks echoed red like a school girl, as if somehow I told him those secret dirty thoughts I only dared uncork late at night when my boys slept under heavy blankets.

“I teach astronomy at the university.  I wasn’t planning on shopping, but I can’t stop thinking about what’s out there. I mean Out There.  You know?  Some of my colleagues think there may be as many as sixty-five Earth-like planets for every basic star we’ve found.  If this ratio holds, we’re talking sixty-seven billion habitable planets in our galaxy. One galaxy.  One galaxy in a sea of countless.”

I imagined it as his groceries jiggled.  A tide of intelligence, as if every calorie in his basket was a planet, he was a sun, he was his own galaxy, a black hole at the center, a black hole munching Twinkies, gulping statistics, swallowing us whole, us whole.

And then it happened.  The woman shifted her cart, and her toddler lurched for my Cheez Whiz as they headed toward toilet paper and other disposable necessities.  The little girl knocked her head against my arm.  I didn’t expect it. I fell into the dairy case’s cart guard, a slim metal slice that rose from ground to knee level.  And knee level it was!  It caught my left leg, torn the knee from one side to the other.  A geyser of blood squired from gaping hole to a pile of swiss cheese blocks, spotting them like expensive koi.

WARNING GROSS IMAGE: My injury (click to see!)

I tore the scarf from my ponytail and wrapped it around my knee and stood in line at the checkout.  Blood seeped through the thin gauzy material.  I should have visited Customer Service, should have asked for antiseptic and bandage.  But I had a Pioneer Woman cabbage dinner to make!  I paid for my goodies and drove like the wind to the local urgent care:

WARNING GROSS IMAGE: Knee is cleaned and prepped for stitches, click to see

Back at home, leg locked straight for two days, I began my preparations.  I poured a generous glass of cabernet and set to work:

Get yer cabbage and hold ‘em up to your boobies.  You know the drill, girls:

Hey baby, nice cabbages!

I get around like a drunken slut!

Help keep me supplied with liquor!

Awesome Bitches

Marlboro Woman Pie Near Woman

Coolest people EVER! They help pay the bills around here and keep me supplied in whiskey.

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“I love not having to whip out annoying euphemisms like “Developmentally Disabled” or “Mentally Challenged” or “Intellectually Delayed.” As a blood relative of a retarded person, I’m automatically exempt. I get to say retarded. Retarded.” ~Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman

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