Can You Stomach This?

A week ago I had the opportunity to attend a banquet held once a year in another city. I was especially excited because a well-known Christian was going to be singing and sharing some of her testimony. But I have to confess that part of my excitement was in the dinner that would be served. My younger daughter has “encouraged” me to change my eating habits from pop tarts (what in the world is wrong with them?) to organic food. While I was not struggling with that decision, I WAS missing food that I had previously enjoyed before I found out how “bad” it was for me.

The dinner menu included fresh spinach with oranges and sweet red onion vinaigrette; garlic chive mashed potatoes, green beans almandine, and (sigh) breast of chicken with a creamy tarragon sauce. I could barely contain myself as the dinner plate was placed in front of me.

Everything tasted delicious and I was sure my stomach was saying “Finally, something with flavor!” as I savored every bite of the chicken breast with tarragon sauce. I asked the woman to the left of me if she knew what exactly was in the sauce but she did not. We both decided that it didn’t really matter because it had an unusual, but delicious flavor. However, within about 10 minutes, I had changed my mind.

As different reports were given leading up to the main speaker, I suddenly felt my stomach begin to twist and turn and then do back flips…over and over and over. And it also suddenly struck me that I did not know where the restrooms were in the building. I excused myself as quickly as I could and found the ladies room within seconds.

But the story doesn’t end there. As I ran into the restroom, two elderly ladies were both washing their hands and chatting. I shut the door to a stall at the farthest end of the room and prayed they would leave quickly but no such luck. Here is their conversation:

First lady: “Honey, let’s get going. I want to hear the singer.”

Second lady: “Just a minute. Let me wash my hands. Did you wash yours?”

First lady: “I don’t know. Did I?” (“Yes, you did!” my mind screamed.)

Second lady: “Hhhmmm…I don’t know, either. What do you want to do?”

First lady: “Well, I guess I could wash them again. What do you think?”

Second lady: (long pause) “Oh, go ahead and wash them again. I’ll do mine again, too. Germs are germs.”

They finally left – with really clean hands – and I was alone at last. And I was really sick. Several minutes later I was able to leave the restroom, thankful that the ladies had left me and I was by myself but also wondering what in the world had caused the disastrous dance in my stomach.

Hours later I found out. When I got home, I went immediately to the internet and looked up exactly what “tarragon” was. First I read that it was an herb used in French cooking; so far, not a problem. But the next sentence explained my stomach experience: “The scent and taste of tarragon is disliked by many garden pests.” Garden pests? Good grief! What in the world did I have in my stomach? A tapeworm?

If I did, it’s gone. And so is my desire to eat “normal” food again. I’m back to organic but minus any herb named tarragon.


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