This time of year always makes me think of my Father and Mother. Daddy always had a huge garden, growing rows and rows of corn, tomatoes , and pole beans. We had onions, potatoes, sweet pototoes, cucumbers, and green bell peppers. After living all winter on canned goods, the fresh vegetables were a welcome and wonderful treat for us. We couldn't wait for the corn and tomatoes to "come in"...
Sometimes my Mother would fix pinto beans, cornbread, fried potatoes, sliced fresh red ripe tomatoes, green onions, and hot corn on the cob with loads of butter. We always sliced cucumbers and placed them in vinegar, salt and pepper, and it made a very tangy addition to our meal. I think I lived on corn and tomatoes during those wonderful summers. And as the watermelons and muskmellons (cantaloupes) ripened we had those as well.
I miss so much wandering through the rows of corn, looking for the ears with dark silk at the top and feeling them to see how full they were. I would pretend I was in a jungle, and sometimes I would pull an ear of corn and eat it raw. The creamy sweetness would burst in your mouth, and it was delicious. I always felt guilty for eating it raw and never told anyone. Outside playing, we would just run to the garden and pick a big juicy tomato, rub it on our shirts to clean it off, and chow down.
We had big blackberry bushes, and though my mother warned us about copperheads, we would run barefoot all around them, watching for briars, and eat our fill. I really miss those blackberries. Every so often Mother would make a blackberry cobbler, and, God, was that good.
Our neighbor, Tennis Lee, who has long since passed on, lived down the hill from us. He had an unusual suspicion that people were stealing his corn. It was nothing for him to shoot out into his cornfield at night with a high-powered rifle. Everyone knew that walking past his house at night during the summer was pretty much putting your life on the line.
One time he offered to shoot up the hill toward our cornfield to keep people away, but Mother wisely told him she didn't think that was necessary. We had enough going on at home without having to start dodging bullets every night!
I miss West Virginia this time of year, and I miss the carefree summers, full of sunshine, country suppers full of fresh fruits and vegetables. I miss my Mother and Father. But, at least I have this memory. I learned a lot about growing things from my Father. I learned a lot about dedication, hard work, and patience. Happy Father's day, Daddy.
And, of course, Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there, working their butts off to take care of their kids and provide for their families. God bless you all. Hope your "maters and corn" is gettin' ripe.