hot pepper

“Living here wouldn’t be so bad,” the old man whined,

“but I eat dinner and hardly know I’ve dined.


Gravy with no grease, potatoes without salt

Toast with no butter, ice cream without malt


No more Tic Tac Red Hots in a mini tin box;

no more pinto beans with Louisiana Sauce.


No more  Three-Alarm chili with icy-iced tea.

no more spaghetti-red with Tabasco for me.


No more hot peppers and country fried chicken,

they don’t serve ‘nothing’ worth finger linkin’


Give me some ham with Colman’s hot mustard.

And take away the cooks who serve me custard!”


(Writing201, Lesson Eight   Poem Form: Elegy;

Subject:  Flavor;  Device: Enumeration)


About oneta hayes

ABOUT ME Hello. To various folks I am Neat’nee, Mom, Grandma Neta, Gramma, Aunt Neta, Aunt Noni, Aunt Neno, and Aunt Neto (lots of varieties from little nieces and nephews). To some I’m more like “Didn’t you used to be my teacher?” or “Don’t I know you from someplace?” To you, perhaps, I am a Fellow Blogger. Not “fellow” like a male or a guy, but “fellow” like a companion or an adventurer. I would choose to be Grandma Blogger, and have you pull up a chair, my website before you, while I tell you of some days of yore. I have experienced life much differently than most of you. It was and is a good life. I hope to share nuggets of appreciation for those who have gone before me and those who come after me. By necessity you are among those who come after me and I will tell you of those who came before. Once upon a time in a little house on a prairie - oops, change that lest I commit plagiarism - and change that “house on the prairie” to “dugout on the prairie.” So my story begins...
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  1. clcouch123 says:

    Your poem has the combined qualities of being entertaining and important. It’s fun to read–the rhyme and the references to food and taste now gone are evocative and enjoyable–and it conveys a message that should be taken sincerely about how older folk too often have it hard. Hard in ways that make a difference every day. Thanks!

    • oneta hayes says:

      My, such a worthwhile critique you have written. It’s enjoyable to write “fun” but extra satisfying if it also has a message. Thank you. I don’t remember having met you before. I will make a visit.

  2. Ohhh! This is just so nicely done Oneta. Bears a lot of meaning too 😊

  3. Faye says:

    Thanks. Indeed the poem flows with an easy lilt but the message is quite a serious one to think about. Is there something we can put in place to keep some ‘special’ foods in nursing homes? Like the fun of in your writing.

  4. oneta hayes says:

    As a serious answer, Faye, I doubt that dietitians can do much and stay in acceptable health limits but I would guess family members could gift an old father with a bottle of Tabasco. When could try it on his Mac and cheese, slip in back in his pocket and back to his room without too much commotion. Family could probably spice up his life a bit – of course if they knew that’s how dad ate t home.

  5. How fun is this?! Get that man some red pepper flakes, STAT! 😉

  6. oneta hayes says:

    Yes, Goldie. I’m on. Just read “Waiting for the Light.” Powerful and heart touching. Sometimes we can be so blind at what sits before us. If you have time, I think you would enjoy my link My writing is so simple compared to yours but the incident I describe sticks with me.

  7. Anand says:

    Brilliant. A Poetess with her feet firmly on the ground. Loved it 😀

  8. oneta hayes says:

    Thanks, Anand. Your words are always a delight to me.

  9. BunKaryudo says:

    Hi, Oneta. Thanks for visiting my blog earlier. I thought I’d come over to return the favor.

    I liked this poem a lot. It’s funny but a bit sad at the same time because there really is a lot of truth to it. I feel for the poor fellow.

  10. Well done!
    Excellent use of rhyme to tell an untold, sad story. When one is full of years, one should still be able to enjoy the few pleasures left…like flavorful cooking.

    • oneta hayes says:

      When one has family members who care, they sometimes get to have a coke, or similar treat from family. If they never have visitors, I’m afraid life is quite bland – food and all.

  11. SarahC says:

    I enjoyed reading the interpretations classmates had in the poetry class……about food, I wrote about a soup that I never made, for ……….I do not cook! The poor guy in your poem would be hungry here ;D

  12. oneta hayes says:

    I did okay with food for my husband up to the point at which he had all teeth removed. Since then I’m afraid my home cooking leaves much to be desired. He blends most everything. Yuck. He is nice about it though. Thankfully. He like lots of vinegar with vegetables. That’s helpful.

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