Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Note: The prompt for this post is to share a memory about a vegetable, and not the politician-kind.

My grandmother's house was pink when I was little. Not a flamboyant, flamingo pink, because that is not the way of farm women of 'True' German descent, but a respectable shade of Bright Blush. The paint store probably had that color on sale or clearance, I always thought, even as a kid. The Not Flamboyantly Pink house was pretty isolated back then, off of a gravel road somewhere near Camp Point, Illinois. My parents and my brother and I would visit my grandparent's farm at least once a year, usually during the summer.

My grandmother had a garden behind the pink house, where she would grow tomatoes and other vegetables. When I was much younger, I would 'help' my grandmother gather the vegetables for the evening meal. We would talk while I 'helped'. Our conversations, as I recall, consisted of lengthy monologues by me on topics of significance to me, and my grandmother's responses to all my pronouncements were always the same.

"Yup," my grandmother would say. On this particular day she was picking green beans while I 'helped'. When enough beans were picked, we took the bucket of green beans to the water pump to wash them, and then we carried the beans to the porch. There my grandmother and I sat, and we prepared the beans to be cooked. My mother came out to help, and the two older women talked.

This first time, I remember the crisp snapping sound of the beans as my grandmother would break off the ends. I tried to imitate her, but my small fingers did not have her strength. In an effort to try and solve the problem without adult assistance, I decided to bite the ends of the beans off. The taste of those green beans were, well, green. Like freshly mown grass smells; that was the taste of those beans. It was not unpleasant.

My mother noticed what I was doing at this point, and freaked out a little at the realization that I was eating everything BUT the beans, including a few small, unfortunate bugs. (I was five or six, what the heck did I know about what green beans looked like?) She began scolding me. Just the fact that my mother was concerned was enough to make my tummy hurt; I thought I was in trouble.

My grandmother was one of thirteen children. She had raised eleven of her own, including my mother. She had seen it all before, likely worse. She just sighed heavily, picked up the bucket of beans, and went into the house. The screen door punctuated her exit, and that was as effective as if she had yelled at us. My mom and I stared at each other, then got up and followed my grandmother into the house.


  1. Oh, the power of a well-timed sigh! I hope this didn't give you a vegetable aversion for life!?!?!

  2. You told so much with your story! The art of sighing, walking out, and so on. My mom had that perfected, too!

  3. Hi!!
    I am your newest follower! I am stopping by from Follow Me Back Tuesday, come follow me as well if you like! :)


  4. Beautiful. I remember my grandma walking in through the screed door and hearing that slam.

  5. This is so great.

    I remember snapping beans with my grandmother, only it wasn't as beautiful and farm-y as your experience...but it was a lot of fun!

  6. Ditto From Tracie's comment, almost word for word. Nice post. Vivid details. Enjoyed!

  7. Oh yes, the well placed sigh and exit! I love that you ate the ends (ingenious) and the bugs, I literally laughed.

  8. OMG, I loved snapping beans and peas with my grandmother when I was kid. You brought it all back, and more. Because I didn't eat the bugs. :)

  9. Hi! I'm a new follower from the blog hop! I would love it if you'd check out my blog at http://www.formulamom.com and follow back! Have a great day!

  10. Ha! I used to walk through my parents' garden just taking bites off the the still-hanging green beans, and I absolutely agree that they taste like freshly mowed grass.
    This was fun! I came by from your visit to my own TRDC entry...

  11. I so hope I can someday perfect The Sigh that's louder than a yell. :)

    This was fantastic. I loved your description of fresh green beans. So true!


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