It may be a bit chilly this morning, but a sure sign that summer’s on the way took place Friday when yours truly wanted a salad.

Now some folks enjoy crunchy lettuce, uncooked carrots, bean sprouts, radishes and other rabbit food, a.k.a. health food, daily. It just doesn’t work that way for us Crabtrees.

About the time the temperature drops below 75, a genetic memory planted somewhere deep within the brain on each Crabtree begins to scream, “Must. Have. Gravy.”

After all, the lean days come as fields die, winds howl, snow falls and the wolves begin to creep closer to the doorways for those of us living in stone cottages in the deep forests of Europe (and, yes, I do see the one flaw in this logic).

Genetic memory, however, doesn’t give two hoots that grocery stores have helped eliminate the lean years for decades, that this is not the dark forest, and that Vegas gives better odds for finding Elvis alive and working as a grocery store greeter than me becoming lean.

Mr. Mark Twain warned us, “Beware of reading health books, you could die of a misprint.” It makes me wonder if he too had the unexplainable yearning for meats roasted over a fire, one which never seems to truly depart.

You disagree?

Think ye not of barbecue, that vestige of the past, we, especially in Texas, cling to, firing up semi-truck sized grills? Tell me that I do not already have you envisioning a rack of ribs, or a knife sliding through a slab of meat fresh from the flames.

My brain tells me salads are the side dishes of summer – just so long as you throw some meat on top and have a slab of bread with it.

You can tell from my figure, of course, that this is not the diet of the stars.

There was a time that skinny was considered one of the signs of poverty, of folks who simply could not get enough to eat and were wasting away – far, far different from today’s world. Now, some folks will tell you, “I’m on this new diet. Well, I don’t eat anything and when I feel like I’m about to faint I eat a cube of cheese.” (Ten points to whoever gets the movie reference without having to look it up).

Do you notice that we humans seem to be the only beating hearts on this planet that go on diets? 

Anyway, or to the sticking post, if you prefer a little outdated language with these apparently outdated thoughts.

The creating of a salad brings genetic memories of fields of flowers, warm summer breezes and, well, the deep greens of that proverbial dark forest.

It does not create a yearning for exercise simply to proclaim, “I’ve lifted the same weight and put it back in the same spot 100 times this week!” or that “I’ve traveled 100 miles on a bike that’s gone nowhere!”

Both glorious feats, do doubt, but if a heavy load need not be moved, pray tell, why shift the burden? And, when that fellow said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” didn’t he plan on getting somewhere?

Ah, well, even I, I’ve admitted, look forward to the greens of summer.

Just one question: Can I get a side of gravy with that?




– Shannon Crabtree is editor & publisher of the El Campo Leader-News.

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