You Say Tom-ay-dahz

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“What are we havin’ today-ee Mae, Pod-ay-dahz?”


Everyday you could set your watch by it. Jim, the bus driver would walk in and ask my grandma:


“What are we havin’ today-ee Mae, Pod-ay-dahz?”


My grandma ran a nutrition program for the elderly. They would come to her center Monday through Friday for a nutritious lunch. Jim was the bus driver who would pick them up, bring them in for lunch, and then take them back home. We, her grandkids, were her “volunteer” labor force. We spent our summers serving the elderly food, doing the dishes after they ate, and listening to them go on and on about their aches and pains. All while our friends were outside playing and having fun!


“What are we havin’ today-ee Mae, Pod-ay-dahz?”


Now, Jim knew that everyday we would be having potatoes because we had potatoes everyday. I don’t remember one day that we didn’t have potatoes, but everyday Jim would ask, without fail, in the most exaggerated Nordic Midwestern twang:


“What are we havin’ today-ee Mae, Pod-ay-dahz?”


When I remember summer, growing up in Madison, Wisconsin, what I remember most is Jim and how—bless his heart and God rest his soul—he used to make us laugh …

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