Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Nothin' beats beans

It was my buddy Earl’s birthday
So I took him out to eat
“Order what you want, Earl,” I said.
“The lobster can’t be beat.”

But when the waitress arrived
And suggested leg of lamb,
Earl said, “Ma’am I believe I’ll have
“A plate of beans and ham.

“And bring fried taters, cow butter
“And cornbread baked golden brown
“And a tall glass of buttermilk, real cold,
“To wash it all down.”

“Earl,” I said, “It’s your special day
“And I’m offering you a treat
“Order some clams, shrimp, crab legs,
“Those things you don’t normally eat.”

“Now, Ozarks Boy,” Earl said, “I thank you
“For your thoughtful, culinary gift
“But if I don’t eat those odd foods you mentioned
“I hope you’ll not be miffed.

“See I’m just a plain old Ozarks hillbilly
“Who never ka-bobbed a shish
“Or fileted a mignon (whatever that is)
“Or ate any unusual dish.

“I grew up eating a simple diet
“That was within my parents’ means
“Every night it was beans and taters
“Or for variety, taters and beans

“I developed a taste for simple foods
“Served from kettles, not fancy tureens
“So just give me taters and cornbread
“And a heaping plate of beans.

“Oh, sure, I’ll eat a little sausage
“And no meatloaf’s good as Aunt Irene’s,
“But when it comes to real good eatin’
“Just give me taters, ham and beans.

“Rich foods make my belly hurt
“Like I’ve been kicked by a couple of fiends
“So I stick with God’s simple fare
“Cornbread and buttermilk, taters and beans.”

“Earl, my friend, I wholeheartedly agree,
“It must be in our hillbilly genes."
Then I turned to the waitress, smiled and said,
“Darlin’, two plates of ham ’n’ beans.”

I don’t care what foods are called the best
By professors and educated deans
Nothing beats a simple meal
Of cornbread, taters, ham and beans.

--R.D. Hohenfeldt

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