Raw Potatoes

Mad isn’t the word exactly. Neither was happy. Expected, it more or less came to be. The potatoes started out a little dirty, as potatoes do. Big russet potatoes. Dull, light brown. Perfect for mashing or potato soup.

Mama would place them under the spigot and rinse off the dirt and dab them with a Bounty paper towel. She’d lay them on the cutting board. A potato peeler at the ready. Once skinned my dad would swoop in when Mama’s head was turned. First, one potato was his bounty. He’d sneak out on the back porch. With it in hand, he’d eat at it like an apple. A few minutes later, he’d return for another. I learned the maneuvering from him.

The two of us would sit on the back porch. He had his raw potato. I had mine. His baseball cap was turned backwards. Sweat stained the pits of his shirt. There was a stink about him. A natural stink. Yardwork stink. Daddy stink.

“Where are all my potatoes,” Mama would shout from the kitchen. “That’s your dinner, then. You do this every time.”

Daddy would grin. Then, he’d sink his front teeth into the white flesh of the raw potato. I’d follow his lead.

“I don’t know if those things will give you worms,” she said. “But the both of you are going to have bellies full of worms if they do.”

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