Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing


The Red Stuff

by Abbie Johnson Taylor

For six years, despite my limited vision, I cared for my late husband, who was totally blind and suffered two strokes that paralyzed his left side soon after we were married. Bill was so finicky that mealtime was often a nightmare because he didn’t always want to eat what I wanted to fix. So, I had to scramble to find a substitute for him while still enjoying what I wanted to eat.

One year at Christmas, my singing group performed at an apartment complex for senior citizens. After we sang, we were invited to eat with the residents. Because I needed to get home and prepare supper for Bill and me, I reluctantly declined. The cook, whom Bill and I knew, offered to send me home with food for both of us. I agreed, grateful I wouldn’t have to fix anything. I knew Bill would enjoy the meal they were serving.

“Okay, honey,” I said, in our kitchen later, as I set a plate of food in front of him at the table. “There’s a pork chop on the right that I’ve cut up. In front of you is stuffing, and that red stuff at the top on the left-hand side I’m pretty sure is cranberry sauce.”

A moment later, I realized I’d mistakenly identified the red concoction when Bill said, “Ooh, these beets are horrible!”

“I’m sorry,” I said. It was all I could do to keep from laughing. “I guess I should have sniffed them first. I assumed it was cranberry sauce.”

“Well, you know what happens when you assume, don’t you?”

“Yes,” I answered with a sigh. “I’m sorry.”

He laughed.

Needless to say, I ate a second helping of beets, which I like and don’t eat often. To this day, I’ve never learned not to assume anything.

About the Author

Abbie Johnson Taylor is the author of two novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir. She is currently working on another novel. Her work has appeared in The Weekly Avocet, The Writer’s Grapevine, and other publications. She lives in Sheridan, Wyoming. Visit her website

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6 thoughts on “The Red Stuff”

  1. Abbie Taylor says:

    Thank you for publishing this piece so quickly. I hope everyone enjoys it and is better at not assuming than I am.

  2. Rogene says:

    Loved the story Abbie! That’s a lesson I still need to learn too.

    1. Join the club, Rogene. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  3. Very easy to do and so true. Peas and lima beans aren’t too different to look at. I don’t like lima beans.

    1. Well, Marlene, lima beans are another vegetable I like and don’t eat often. Bill didn’t like them, though. But he loved peas. They were one of the few vegetables he would eat, but he would only eat them canned, not frozen. Thank you for your comment.

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