Lima Beans

Contributor: Eric Suhem

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Sally looked at the pile of lima beans on her plate. “I don’t like this food, why do I have to eat it?”

“Be quiet and eat your lima beans, or you’ll go to your room.” said her mother.

At the bean conference in Lima, Ohio, on a small table, in the middle of the auditorium, under harsh white light, sat a single lima bean. “We all must eat the town bean,” was the general agreement voiced.

 “But I don’t want to!” responded a small child’s voice, to which the instant response was to remove the youngster from the room.

There was an argument in the auditorium about the origins of the lima bean. “The lima bean’s origins are in Lima, Peru,” correctly asserted a woman in a pea-green sundress, and there were roars of agreement throughout the auditorium.

A man in a severe yellow suit disagreed, arguing that the bean either came into existence in Lima, Ohio, or that the lima bean’s beginnings were somehow linked to former pro golfer Tony Lima (one of only 3 two-time winners of the Buick Open). There was some murmuring in the room about the Tony Lima theory when the yellow-suited man asked, “But what about the kumquats?” followed in response by a thunderous ovation.

A steaming vat of lima beans was wheeled into the auditorium, and all participants consumed one bean apiece. “Will this help resolve the disagreement about the lima bean?” the leader of the bean conference asked the briefly munching throng.

The answer was a resounding “No!” as eating this bean with broad pods seemed to put each person into an even fouler mood, and the debate about the lima bean became more rancorous and unproductive.

The man in the severe yellow suit arose once again and announced, “I am one of the kumquat people!” Half the auditorium roared cheers, joining the man in a chant of “We are the kumquat people!”

The other half of those in the auditorium yelled in response, “We are the bean people!”

“Why didn’t you buy the lima beans at the discount mart instead of that strange health food emporium?” asked Sally’s mother.

Sally’s father took a deep breath and loosened his yellow tie, saying, “The discount mart didn’t have the kumquats I like, but that ‘strange’ health food emporium did.”

The bean people came from pods, but that was their only ‘abnormality’. In every other aspect, they were exemplary citizens, living life on the low burner of the universal gas stove. Some had been through tumultuous incarnations, and were now ready for peaceful conformity, forming the rules that would be the bedrock of their bean-oriented society.

The kumquat people had been crawling from their caves for centuries, agitating the bean people. “We bring revolution!” the kumquat people would always scream, thumping their golden orange citrus tomes.

The bean people countered, “We shall slay you and your heretical ideas!” while fist-pounding their corresponding legume scriptures.

Sally’s mother rolled her eyes. “You know we need to save money, Sally needs new clothes for school. Why can’t you be responsible? Am I the only adult here?”

“I’m going to buy more kumquats tomorrow!” yelled Sally’s father.

The man in the severe yellow suit arose once again and announced, “I believe that no resolution will be met at this time about the origin of the lima bean, nor about the merits of lima beans vs. kumquats. In fact, there seemed to be no discord at all until that little child refused to eat the town bean, and had to be removed from the room. That’s when the trouble started!” He looked to the nearby woman in a pea-green dress with sensible shoes, and she nodded her slight approval, eliciting his relieved sigh.

There was a roar of agreement. “Yes, it’s the child’s fault that we disagree! Destroy the child!”

“Well Sally, that’s a nice little story about kumquat and bean people, but you still can’t have any kumquats until you finish the lima beans,” said her mother. Sally scowled at her plate, and her parents resumed arguing.

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Eric Suhem dwells in office cubicles and ocean waves. His book 'Dark Vegetables' can be found in the orange hallway (
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