copyright © 2002 J.D. Ruelle & Scott Silet

The Patron Saint of Jello

By J.D. Ruelle & Scott Silet

Scene: Lutheran Church picnic, somewhere in North Dakota.

Table with lots of covered dishes and tupperware.

Elsie and Betty both enter carrying dishes, talking. Very, very strong North Dakota/Northern Minnesota accents.

Betty: And Pastor Larson was there?

Elsie: Yeah, he was there. Along with little Lars and his wife Sonja. They had stopped by after handbell choir to check on Hulda what with her sprained wrist and all, and what did they find but Irv drinking Jagermeister and swearing at the hockey game, and his boy Thor playing at the Dungeons and Dragons. Right there in the rumpus room!

Betty: No!

Elsie: Yeah.

Betty: We’ll, I’ll be.

Elsie: Yeah, ya will. There’ll be hell to pay for that one you can bet.

Betty: Yeah, you betcha.

Elsie: Let’s see what do we got here?

(to audience) Don’t be shy, I know you’re starvin’ marvins. Come on up and grab yerself a plate.

(She and Betty start serving as audience members come up.)

Betty: Well I brought my famous pea salad. (Holds it up for admiration)

I always think I should make something else, but if I do people are always asking, they ask "Betty, where’s that famous pea salad of yours?" So what’s a gal to do? Come without it?

Elsie: I should say not.

Betty: No…. And what did you bring Elsie?

Elsie: Oh, I didn’t have a lot of time so it’s just Glorified Rice. I was goin to make those little smokies with the grape jelly and barbeque sauce in the crock pot, but then the boys went and ate ‘em all up when I wasn’t looking. Little buggers.

Betty: No.

Elsie: Yeah. Don’t cha know?

(Enter Amy, carrying a bag.)

Betty: Oh, Amy, It’s so good to see ya dear.

Elsie: Yeah, how are ya? What cha got there?

Amy: Well, it’s supposed to be circus peanut salad, it’s a recipe I found in the Sons of Norway cookbook Aud’s Mom gave me, but it didn’t quite work out quite right. (she removes dish from bag).

Elsie: Oh, I can see that.

Betty: Oh Golly, Did you follow the recipe exactly?

Amy: Well, I started making it, but then I realized that I was out of orange jello. So I thought maybe I could make it with lime. But it came out, well, kind of grey.

Betty: (Taking dish and putting it towards the back of the table) Not to worry dear, I’m sure it tastes just fine. Limes and oranges are both fruit.

Elsie: Both citrus, don’t cha know.

Betty: That’s right, I’m sure nobody will even notice.

Elsie: Yeah, it might turn out to be the next big recipe, ya never know. Remember the first time Doris brought that Frog Eye salad? It was all green and had that macaroni that nobody could say….

Betty: ´ Acini de pepe ª

Elsie : That’s the one. But then we all gave it a try and by golly, it was a keeper! So don’t you worry about your lime circus peanut salad - it’s just a variation on a theme and I’m sure it will be gobbled up in no time.

Amy: Well, thanks. Is there anything I can do to help?

Betty: No, no…. you run along and look after the little one.

Amy: Well, okay. (Amy exits)

(Betty and Elsie both look at Amy’s dish)

Betty: Oh no…..

Elsie: The poor dear….

Betty: That’s just awful. I hope Mrs. Sorenson doesn’t recognize her recipe.

Elsie: Oh no…. that would be bad.

Betty: You have to give that girl credit for trying one of Lois Sorenson’s recipies right out of the gate though.

Elsie: Oh, she’s a brave one that. Say what you like about them Easterners but that one, she can drive a tractor straight as a yardstick from here to Tuesday.

Betty: Where’s she from?

Elsie: Minneapolis.

Betty: Oh, yeah?

Elsie: And, You know what she named that baby?

Betty: No?

Elsie: Well, everybody just thought they’d name him Aud, like all the Opperude men and his Dad before him. But Oppy (who never used his given name), he said "No way, no doin." He’d taken enough guff about his name and jokes about his dad bein’ odd "O-D-D" that he wasn’t going to saddle the little guy with the same name. He said he wanted the boy to have a normal name. An American name.

Betty: No!

Elsie: Yeah!

Betty: So what’d they name him?

Elsie: Well that’s the kicker don’t you know? This gal Amy she says to Oppy, she says, "If you’re gonna move me out here to Karlsruhe on the prairie, and you expect me to make that stinky lutefisk for Christmas dinner, AND you propose to me at a Sons of Norway fish fry, by Golly our boy is getting a Norske name.

Betty: No!

Elsie: Yeah. They named him Trigve.

Betty: Trigve!?

Elsie: Trigve Sundeen Opperude. Trigve from some Norsk legend she read about and Sundeen after her folks.

Betty: Well, I’ll be.

Elsie: Yeah, you will.

(Both scoop a healthy serving of Amy’s salad onto their plates and eat)

Betty: Sundeen. Sounds Swedish to me….

(Lights Out. Exit.)


"The Patron Saint of Jello" debuted May 24, 2002, performed by J.D. Ruelle, Scott Silet and Annaliese Moyer.

Performed at Best of No Shame on June 27 & 28, 2002.

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