Thursday, January 24, 2013


MONKEYS AND ONIONS     - archives

No, that's not a recipe. Yet.

It sounds increasingly mouthwatering to me, though, compared to the way I felt in my previous ignorance, when I thought monkeys were cute.

Back then, monkeys were those dear little, furry, red-faced almost-human beings in the photos of snowy Japanese hot springs in some distant mountain wilderness somewhere, usually with a big-eyed baby monkey clinging endearingly to its mother's fur. And at that time, of course, distorting the whole reality picture in a major way was the fact that I wasn't growing onions.

Growing onions can do that to your monkey attitude. Because first of all it's no picnic to grow onions on what until recently was pretty much mountainside where onions have never grown before. Second, it takes a longish time for onions to reach maturity, a time measured in almost hourly fatherly glances at the current status of the preciously swelling globes with their practically individual names as the months crawl along in onion time, making the onions themselves all the more like diamonds one has fashioned by hand.

Moreover, as is not commonly known among incipient onion growers, whose legions I joined a few years ago in grade-A ignorance, monkeys love onions. They love onions, in fact, almost as much as I've come to despise monkeys.

It was a day like any other, except the onions were slightly bigger than they'd been the day before, though they weren't yet big enough to harvest. I went off into the sunny morning to work in the city, as humans do. The monkeys yawned and looked at their watches. The leader checked his calendar, said: Zero hour. He's gone to work. The sun is shining, and there's no one home. Let's go get our onions. It's party time.

Now I know I'm the interloper here, in some idiotically rationally humanly obsessive earth-loving sense that comes straight out of Eden, 2-for-1 with the apple core. The monkeys were here first. And I don't mind paying them their vig: maybe 10, even 20 percent if they have a case (sick kids, ailing grandma etc.). But when they come and just take 50 percent and leave a mess, then come the next day and take another 40 percent, leaving 10 percent only because they can't find it in the further mess they've made, I say it's time for monkeys and onions.

I awoke the third morning (a new day off) to the sound of trees thrashing under monkey weight enhanced by my onions. It was the dawn of the monkeys. I peered out the window as an onion-fattened female ambled solo into my garden, heading for you know what.

I ran downstairs and out the door to the deck. She stopped in amazement: what the hell are you doing home? I figuratively swear she double-checked her watch, got out her organizer and scratched her head. She looked again to see if I was real. I really threw a real rock. She took off and joined the crew in the trees across the road.

I went to my onions and began scavenging for my 10 percent. The beasts watched from the trees in growing distress, jumping up and down and talking to their lawyers, saying HEY! He's pulling up OUR onions!! They began to eat mere leaves from the trees in frustration, as monkeys should dammit do at all times, I gritted as I salvaged what was left of my own onions.

I say the onions are mine. I bought the land, I bought the seeds, I planted and tilled, what right do the monkeys have to the fruits of my labor, other than the fact that they get it every year?

1 comment:

Sandy miller said...

I grow a lot of onions...... Whew, no monkey here!
Remember the monkey stripping windshield wiper blades off cars in a parking half way up a mountain in Nikko....... We sat on a curb with our backpacks resting next to us...... The monkeys eyed us .... We moved on......