Cabbage Days
Susan Mahan
May 2001

A whiff of sauerkraut at a food court
brought back memories
of Saturday night suppers in South Boston
before I was ten years old:

hot dogs, baked beans
and brown bread for Mum and us kids,
a side of sauerkraut for Dad.

I couldn't fathom Dad's choice of vegetable,
but, then, he was mostly a mystery to me.
He spent a lot of time reading
and had a far-off look in his eyes
when he glanced up from his books--
two traits I eventually acquired.
I now know that he traveled the world from his armchair.

But back then,
I had no taste for sauerkraut and a great imagination.
I suspected that Dad,
who had learned German in college
and who once diligently transcribed a book he was reading,
was an international spy
because he ate it with such gusto.