Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Viva le Pea Party!

"The last thing we need is a platform or manifesto. This party is about anger, blame and raging paranoia." ("Bunkerbuster" at

"Bunkerbuster" is right on. We don't need no manifesto. We don't need no thought control. No dark sarcasm in the classroom. Teachers leave them kids alone.

Instead we should follow with fervor the standard for unreasonableness set on that cold winter morning when the founding members of the Mens Garden Club of Wethersfield filled the waters of the towne cove with thousands of small, green, spherical legumes - in the great Wethersfield Pea Party.

They were mad as hell and not going to take this anymore.

"This" was of course the selection of our official town emblem.

There were just two candidates - the "Wethersfield Red Onion" versus the "Mister Big" Large Pod Pea. Both vegetables had their own set of loyalists. And town members of all ages and genders aligned themselves fiercely with their favorite contender - berating and maligning the opposition crop and its supporters with even more fervor than they devoted to extolling the virtues of their own nominee.

The onion was the fave of the fawning Francophile followers of that effete French nobleman Jean-Baptiste-Donatien de Vimeur count de Rochambeau, who several years later, would visit our fair city to plot military strategy with General George Washington.

The Mens Garden Club threw their backing to "Mr. Big". There were several reasons for this choice, such as the pea's shorter germination time and innate disease resistance. But the main one was expressed perfectly by the organization's campaign slogan, "Mister Big - Because That's Just The Way We Are!"

The opposition countered with their own series of catchphrases, the most famous of which of course was: "Mister Big! Ha! In Your Dreams!"

The Men's Garden Club had published its first "Horticultural Hunks" calendar that year. Unfortunately for the plantsmen some of the un-retouched original illustrations, which had been posed for in unusually cold winter weather, found their way into the public market. They had nothing that could stand up to the belittling counter claim of the Onion supporters.

As a result, the pungent tasting edible bulb was victorious. And for almost three hundred years the anger over that bitter defeat has simmered just under the surface of the otherwise placid demeanor of the gentlemen of the club.

In addition to the original "Pea Party Revolt" held in 1772, just one year before the idea was stolen by a bunch of tea-sipping Bostonians, there have been several other efforts over the year to bring the issue before the public. With each failure - and each attempt was an utter failure - the decibel level of the whining has increased incrementally.

For example, in 1900 the club endowed the first Nobel Peas Prize. But, like the aforementioned act of water-based vegetative rebellion, this idea was also hijacked - this time by a horde of Norwegian peace mongers - before the membership could agree on its initial honoree.

And in the 1960's the club issued its professionally produced recording of "All we are saying is give peas a chance. All we are saying is give peas a chance." But, as usual, nobody did.

You people just don't seem to get it! So listen up! Here is the real story.

The word "onion" comes from the Middle English "unyun", which in turn comes (of course) from the French "oignon", ultimately deriving from the Latin "unio", meaning one or unity.

Does that sound like socialism or what? Is it just coincidence that the enemy is a "RED" onion? I don't think so. Plus it is French.

Would not a well-endowed green legume make a much more memorable souvenir of our all-American village?

Picture this. Roadside stands set up on all of the entrances into town, manned by loyal and patriotic volunteers. Colonial pottery bowls filled with handpicked and hand-polished exemplars of "Mister Big", free for the taking.

And our new town motto: "It is a long drive from New York to Boston. Why not stop in Wethersfield and take a pea!"

In the words of Revolutionary War hero Patrick Henry, "It is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of [Wethersfield]! The war is inevitable; and let it come! I repeat, Sir, let it come! Give me liberty. Or give me death!"

Wait a minute. Death? The end of life! Most importantly my life! All over some dumb little green legume. Maybe I am being a little overzealous.

Besides, all that planning, organizing, supervising and (worst of all) then actually doing something just really seems like an awful lot of work to me. And when it's all done you just know someone is going to complain about it.

Instead I'm going back to my own private bunker where I can hunker down with a cheap cigar and an ice-cold six-pack - and bitch with the impunity that is granted to irate ignorance.

"Viva le Pea Party!" (Oops, my bad.)

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