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Zucchinis In The Night
by Mary J. Breen

On Sunday, Father’s sermon was on Ecumenism. What’s wrong with Adultery or Impure Thoughts or The Widow’s Mite? Anyway, he wanted to remind us that even though we’re still the One True Faith, everyone’s praying to the same God. Except for heathens, of course.

So, coming home from Mass, I thought I’d be charitable and say Good Morning to that Joy Gibson, even though I’ve never been able to stand her smarty-pants English accent. There she was on her knees in front of a tomato plant instead of whichever God she happens to think worthy of her.

“Smashing day, Miss Daly,” she warbled. “Bountiful harvest! Must give you some. Share the wealth and all that. Here, have a—”

“No, thank you very much,” I said as I kept on walking. “No need for that. I'm just fine.” Don’t need handouts from Protestants, I wanted to say. That poor Harry Gibson, saddled with her all these years. Probably told him she was in the family way—it couldn’t have been her beauty—but of course that’s what those shameless War Brides did, all of them trying to get a free ticket to the Promised Land on the arm of some lonely, unsuspecting Canadian soldier. Sure they were desperate to get away from the rationing and the bombs, but never a thought for the women over here, women like my sister Edna, waiting all those years for her Tom who, when he finally showed up, had got himself a French wife drenched in cheap perfume and wearing dresses that were no better than underslips. I know the likes of Joy Gibson.

Then on Monday morning, when I went to bring in the milk, I nearly fell down my porch steps. There on the mat was a pile of those zucchini vegetables. Could have broken my hip! That Joy Gibson must have put them there in the middle of the night. Who else grows those things? And their shape! Besides, zucchinis are Italian, and I have my loyalties. Don’t want my brother to think he fought against those Italians for nothing, even if they are Catholics. Carrots, peas, tomatoes, corn are perfectly good vegetables for Canadians. So that night I set my alarm for 4 a.m., crept over to Joy’s, and dumped them all back on her porch.

Tuesday morning the zucchinis were back. And what did I tell you about Protestants! Not only was there a huge vulgar one sitting in my porch chair, this time she’d arranged rows of tomatoes and carrots around it, looking for all the world like they were bowing down before a false green idol.