A conversation about the beauty of Kale…and whether or not I ever really lived in Haiti…

So there I was, standing in the grocery store express line with some chicken and produce. I mean, I figured that my husband shouldn’t have to fix EVERY. SINGLE. MEAL during my month-long run with the flu and bronchitis.

The cashier worked quickly through my groceries, but when she got to the kale, she stopped. “This is very good stuff,” she exclaimed, gazing upon its beauty.
As I fished in my wallet for my debit card, I agreed with her by nodding. Oddly, though, when I looked up, she was still holding onto the kale.

“This is very good stuff,” she repeated, “especially when you cook it with meat…”

I laughed and confessed to my new cashier-friend that I really had no idea how to cook kale, and I only bought it for green juicing.

But oblivious to my passion for juicing, she continued. “Have you ever tried Haitian food? I think you’d like my kale.”

Wait, now we’re talking about Haitian food? A bit puzzled, but going with the flow, I told her, “I’ve eaten a lot of Haitian food, just not with kale.” She looked up and starting listing a myriad of other ingredients she adds to her evidently delicious kale recipe.

I was aware of the long line behind me and wanted to kick myself for adding to the conversation. I tried to end things there by holding up my debit card and shifting over to the payment machine, but the end of our chit-chat was nowhere in sight. The teenage boy waiting to bag my groceries chimed in, “YOU’VE eaten Haitian food?” He challenged me, as if this was an impossibility.  “YOU, really?”

Not sure why this seemed so odd, I laughed as I inserted my debit card. “Yes, I lived in Haiti for a couple of years.”

Oh, my. Now the line was never going to move. The kale forgotten, he looked me straight in the eyes, “No you didn’t.”

And then here’s how it went:

“Yes, I did.”

“You did not.”

“Yes, we lived in Port-au-Prince.”

“You did not.”

“Well, yes.” Now I was trying to keep the conversation friendly. “We lived there when my husband was a pilot…”

“You did not.”

He almost had me believing I had never lived there. He almost had me convinced I had never eaten a Haitian dish. And all this happening while the line grew longer behind us and my few groceries piled up waiting to be bagged.

Amused and bewildered, I tried again to hurry up the process, but stunned bagger-boy was grinning from ear to ear as he stuck out his hand to shake mine.

Well, okay, I thought, no problem. I’ll shake your hand…

He laughed. I smiled.

I think it was a truce of sorts, but I’m pretty sure neither he nor the kale-loving cashier believed a single word I had said.


Not really sure what had just happened, I headed home to make some dinner…and some kale-enriched green juice.



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