Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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« co-written song | Main | ut practice »
Sunday
Mar151998

brussel sprout story

Allison, Jodi and I drove out to one of the airport hotel yesterday to visit for a few hours with Mark Osier and Kathy Cogswell (both in town for a Dorsai event). Great seeing them again! We got to hear one of Mark's new songs, ate a pile of junk food. :-) Looking forward to seeing them again at Contata in July, where Mark is the Toastmaster.


The other day I took my three-year-old niece Sara to the Royal Ontario Museum. She insists on taking her plastic Mickey Mouse lunchbox with her.
"Are you sure you don't want to leave it at home?" I ask.
Sara looks at me as if I've lost my mind. "It has my lunch in it!" She goes on to describe this pretend lunch (which includes icecream) and how much she's looking forward to having it. I let her keep the lunchbox and we head for the bus station.


As we pass the corner fruit market, Sara suddenly stops.
There is a frozen abandoned brussel sprout lying by the side of the road. We talk about it a bit (what it is, how it got there), then I encourage Sara to come with me to get to the bus stop. She keeps staring with enormous interest at the brussel sprout. I see the bus come around the corner. It passes us. It stops, gets a passenger, goes on. I sigh and ask if Sara wants to take the brussel sprout with us. She nods. She asks me to hold her Mickey Mouse lunchbox for her (I end up carrying it for the rest of the trip). We take the brussel sprout and wait for the next bus.


On the bus, Sara decides the brussel sprout is a girl and names it Susie. She clutches it tightly in one mitten until we get on the subway, at which point she plays with Susie, talking with Susie's squeaky voice. We use the lunchbox as a skating rink. I steadily avoid meeting the eyes of the other commuters, knowing that if I look up I will surely see horror in them, horror that a mother could possibly be too cheap to buy her daughter a real doll and forces her to use Susie The Brussel Sprout instead. At one point Susie slips on the ice and goes rolling down the subway car, narrowly misses being crushed by some guy getting off at his stop. Abandoning any attempt at self-respect, I go running after the brussel sprout as if it's the most precious thing in the entire world. I can feel everyone's accusing eyes on me as I hand it back to Sara, who clutches at it in tearful relief.


Ruth called me up yesterday to ask (in a very nice way) that I not let Sara befriend any more roadside vegetation. Turns out there was quite the scene when they had to explain why Susie had to be thrown out. Sigh.

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