What is food to one, is to others bitter poison.  – Titus Lucretius Carus




back in my catering days,

we hosted a party in a very small, yet charming victorian house.

it was for a women’s group,

a lovely luncheon that began with tray-passed appetizers.

as i made my rounds through the rooms,

squeezing past people engaged in little groups,

i offered up tray after tray of beautiful bite-sized food.

and one woman ignored me the entire time

and continued her conversation,

she wouldn’t even look at me or make eye contact at all.

and never took one thing from me.

until finally –

she reached down and popped one into her mouth.

and i was sure she did it just to appease me

and hoped i would go away.

but –

she had grabbed the flower on the tray instead of the appetizer.

and it was not an edible flower.

and she put it in her mouth and chewed it.

and got a strange look on her face.

and delicately deposited it into her napkin.

and went back to her conversation.

and i hurried to the kitchen to let the chef know.

who asked if it was the woman in the pink sweater.

and i said yes and wondered how she knew.

and that was when she told me

that the woman in the pink sweater was blind.


The food here is terrible, and the portions are too small.
 Woody Allen  

47 responses »

  1. That’s cute Beth. When the women to whom she was speaking saw you there and knew she was blind, they should have intervened and either explained to you or her what was going on. People are dense sometimes. I live in Ottawa and our transit system here is quite good, I was pleasantly surprised the other day when the bus pulled to a halt at a stop where a young man sat with a white cane. The driver opened the door, leaned over and called out the route number to the man who then waved the bus on. It took me a few minutes to figure out that the stop is used by multiple bus routes and when the driver saw the visually impaired man, he verbally identified his route number.


  2. I have eaten a few flowers myself… metaphorically speaking. There are times we all get so caught up in our own little world that we become blind to what is really out there. Meeting someone like your guest can refocus me to what I need to see, and care about.

    Thanks for making me appreciate the sight that I have. I need to use it more.


  3. What a story, Beth. It could have been from a Woody Allen movie, exactly, no changes or editing needed, so you indeed picked the perfect zipper quote once again.

    Now, onto some of the comments.

    I do think “what are you blind?’ is worse to blurt than ‘what are you deaf?’ because there is a 99 percent chance that the former will hear you while the latter may miss the inappropriate question.

    One time my dear wife Karen and I were riding a crowded public transportation bus in Bermuda, and I stood in the center aisle while she sat beside me. I was facing forward, and I kept on feeling something hard poking me in the back. While I was turning to say something, Karen reached up and gently pulled my ear close and whispered, “it’s a blind gentleman standing behind you, poking you with his cane.” Saved from my big mouth. Whew!


    • thanks mark and i think you’re right as far as comparing the blurt damage potential. i love the story with karen. sometimes we need wakeup calls from unexpected sources )


      • yes, mark, i have thought about this, more than once. i think we were each trying to be compassionate to the other in a way – her taking the appetizer/flower to make me happy and make my job easier, and me not saying anything not to embarrass her in front of the others, and her discretely spitting it into the napkin and not making a big deal of it, and me not saying anything and just taking it away not to embarrass her again, and her friends not saying anything to any of us, not to embarrass any of us and on and on….


  4. Some folks would have at least said; “That food you are passing around smells good. Can you hand me one that you think I might enjoy – because I can’t see what you are kindly offering. I am blind.” I think that would have been a good way to go – or at least one of the members party to her conversation could have said something! Like; “Stella, dear you just picked up the flower.” We all are differently-able. And need to treat everyone with respect.


    • it seemed that everyone was just trying to be careful with everyone else’s feelings, i don’t blame her for not saying anything, i just was worried she’d get sick –


  5. I am shocked that a chef would put an inedible flower on the tray when there are several that are. It would not have been your fault had she been sick or had a reaction. So glad she spit it out! I would have been like you, pushing the tray right by her, not realizing what was going on. This made me laugh, which is how you probably feel, when you review the whole situation! I think Mark is on the right wavelength, but really Mark, it wouldn’t be a Woody Allen movie, it would be a Beth (who doesn’t have her glasses on) screenplay or movie!!!


    • well, it happens a lot actually, simply decorative, and i’ve never had anyone eat it before. i really thought she was just ignoring me, so i was happy when she finally took something, but it was a surprise ending for all of us )


  6. What a surprising tale! It would have been thoughtful for someone to intervene tactfully, but yes, sometimes we are caught off guard and do nothing. Thanks for sharing this very interesting event, Beth.


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