She said she was making chili for the party. Other people, she thought, might bring pizza or wings. She said there might also be cupcakes or cookies and chips.
Though I already knew, still, I asked out of politeness, what she wanted me to bring to her party.
She asked, “How about a veggie tray?”
I said, “Okay. But I watch every year and nobody eats it.”
“Really?” she asked.
“Yeah,” I said. “And you ought to know. You’re the one that ends up throwing it away, right?”
“Yes. I guess you’re right. Now that I think about it, you’re right.”
“So?” I asked.
I asked, “So you still want me to bring a veggie tray, even though nobody wants it? Or would you prefer I bring something else this time?”
“Something else? Like what?”
“Donuts? To a party? To a chili party?”
“Last party I went to somebody brought donuts. And, by the end of the party, they were all gone. Donuts were a pleasant surprise. I think most people like to eat junk at a party, and there’s no better junk food than donuts.”
“So, would you prefer I bring donuts to a veggie tray?”
“I think you should bring the veggie tray,” she said. “Every party needs a veggie tray. I’ve never been to party with donuts.”
So I ended up bringing a veggie tray to the party. I watched as people passed it up for chips and cookies. At the end of the party, the veggie tray had barely been touched.
At the end of the party, I pointed it out.
“Doesn’t seem the veggie tray was much of a hit,” I told her.
“I wonder why not?” she asked. “Every party I see in my magazines has a veggie tray. And I see veggie trays at the grocery, and I know what they’re for.”
“What are they for?”
“Parties. Everybody knows they’re for parties.”
“You’re going to have to throw it all away,” I said. “This year – just like last year – just like all the years before. Nobody at your party eats much from the veggie tray.”
“Yeah,” she said. “It’s a shame to waste it all. Do you want to take it home?”
“No,” I said. “Like everybody else that was here, I suppose I’m not big on veggie trays.”
“Me either,” she said. “So I guess it’ll get tossed in the trash. Or I’ll throw it outside for the animals.”
“If you don’t care for veggie trays, why do you always have me bring one?”
“Because every party has a veggie tray,” she said. “Every party needs a veggie tray with dip.”
“Maybe I should have brought donuts,” I said. “At least they wouldn’t get tossed out for the raccoons.”
A year is a long time. By the time of the next party, I knew she’d only be able to think of another veggie tray. It’s what she wants. Each year, it’s her party, so I bring what she wants, though we both know it will ultimately go to waste.
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