It wasn’t over money. It wasn’t over another lover. It wasn’t over drinking, gambling or an addiction to buying expensive shoes or bling for a truck.
As Memorial Day 2017 approaches, it seems fitting that due homage be paid to this historical war in our marriage.
Our largest, most memorable fight in our 34 year marriage was over something as basic as a dessert made from a long yellow fruit. Married 6 years, banana pudding suddenly became our greatest stumbling block in a young marriage.
For untold years, women had cooked banana pudding. I’m not sure what all went into that fine yellow boil, but it was cooked on a stove, poured into a dish and then topped with peaked up meringue and then lightly browned in the oven.
Then suddenly, this tradition was rocked when in the 80’s some brilliant soul developed a recipe for this new way to prepare that delicious southern treat using pudding mix and it didn’t need cooking. Personally, I don’t know anyone that ‘cooks’ a banana pudding concoction on the stove top anymore.
My mom was one of those that cooked gazillions of these banana puddings and took the time to spread that meringue out and then use the back of the spoon to peak it up and then lightly brown it. Lots of love and southern woman pride went into our mom’s meringue preparation.
Sharon and I lived in Murfreesboro and I was in nursing school there in the late 80’s. On a visit home one weekend, my mom gifted my wife of only a few years with this new banana pudding recipe.
After returning to the Boro, my wife decided she’d try that new thing out. She purchased all of the parts to assemble this pudding. It was a Sunday afternoon, around 2ish.
I remember the beginning of the war very well.
I’m sitting outside on the deck of our 1 bedroom apartment over Stones River, smoking Marlboro Light 100’s and reading the War and Peace of Nursing books; my Brunner. She’s in the kitchen pleasantly cooking.
There was an unusual calm about the day. There was that eerie silence that comes just before the tornado rips apart homes, then the roar.
The roar began loudly and troops landed when the cook came to the non-cook for cooking advice.
My young wife pondered that since you don’t actually ‘cook’ this new method, reckon you crumble up the banana wafers on the bottom? Otherwise, how would they get moist?
Asking me this is like asking how would you safely land an airplane if one engine went out. Of course I had no idea. So she returned to the little kitchen and decided that crumbling of the wafers must be done. But, I remained curious about the correct way. Not because I wouldn’t eat it if it weren’t cooked right. I’m not a picky eater. It probably couldn’t even have had bananas in it and I’d have scarfed it down.
But I was curious from a scientific viewpoint. How DID those brown little circles get moist like mom’s had?
So I decided to phone a friend. You already see where this is headed.
Now let me say right here that my wife has ALWAYS loved my mom. Even through my mom’s thick headed, contrary ways. And my mom, I’m pretty sure, loves my wife more than she loves me.
I’m a fixer! I’m a good husband! I wanted to help my wife.
She had been sweet enough to cook and ran into a stumbling block. If she had a flat tire I’d be there to change it. If she can’t get a lid off, I’ll be there to put a manly twist and grunt on that pickle jar and get the lid off for her. People, chivalry is not dead right here.
So, yes, I did it. I took one last draw, dopped out my cigarette, put down my Brunner, and went inside and called my mother to asked her if my wife needed to crumble them or put these wafers whole in the bottom.
I called my mother long distance, charged, on a house phone because cell phones weren’t even thought of yet. Mom confirmed that they would be fine to put in whole and all of the pudding stuffs would make them moist. I hung up the corded, push button phone on the wall and reported what the originator of the recipe had shared.
The sound of more feet of the troops on the ground got louder and in the distance a few guns had began to fire off their deadly rounds.
That moment at 55C Rivermont Apartments in Murfreesboro, is where the actual Great Banana Pudding War of 1987 began.
That’s the best that I can tell about it.
Don’t miss Phase 2 following soon; signs in windows/angry basketball/sewing machines/dead kayakers.
This is gonna be good!! I can’t wait for the next chapter. The suspense is building! Although I know you both lived, this is even better than when my newlywed wife attempted to make strawberry pancakes with Kool Aid!!
Seriously? You called your MOM? (Face palm) SHE’s supposed to call your mom and tell on YOU! But I’m sure you learned that tidbit later…
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The 11th commandment: “Thou shalt not call thy mother in the first ten years of marriage, especially on behalf of thy wife’s cooking conundrum.”
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Mark, I just re-read your post from years ago about Daddy. It made me cry all over again. Thanks for those precious memories of that day. ❤️
You’re most welcome. Your Daddy was an amazing human being.