I'm Strong to the Finish 'Cause I Eats Me Spinach


When I was a kid, Popeye was my hero. Granted, he wasn’t the best looking guy nor the brightest, but once he gulped down some spinach, I knew the bad guys were in for some serious butt kicking.
So when I was about five years old, I decided what was good enough for Popeye was certainly good enough for me. Since we always had a plentiful supply of spinach growing in our vegetable field, I would simply grab an empty stewed-tomato tin from the house, head out to the spinach patch, and stuff my "spinach" can full of leaves.
Now, I didn’t really expect my biceps to grow to the size of cannon balls once I swallowed the spinach, but I do remember thinking that spinach must do something for increasing ones strength. Otherwise, why would Popeye eat it?
I remember thinking that the raw spinach wasn’t the best tasting vegetable that I had eaten, but I was sure that I could climb trees faster, and pick up heavy rocks more easily after eating the spinach leaves.
I probably would have continued eating spinach for another couple of years had my mother not said to me one day, "Oh, that’s so cute".
 Cute? Popeye was a superman - not cute! I hated cute!
The next day, the spinach can found the garbage can, and while I still liked Popeye, my "salad days" were gone. Tarzan became my new hero. Tarzan was also super strong, plus he wielded a huge knife and not some cute tin can!
Dad kind of took pity on my fractured ego and bought me a knife with a leather sheath, "just like Tarzan’s". Mom wasn’t fussy about the idea of a kid with a knife until Dad assured her that I was only allowed to use the knife when he was around. That suited me just fine.
Today, I still have that have that same knife. And while I no longer eat spinach from a tin, I do love spinach salads - with a bit of Olive Oyl, of course.

~Jim Hole