Monday, August 24, 2009

As High as an Elephant's Eye

"The corn is as high as an elephant's eye,
and it looks like it's climbing clear up to the sky!

So wrote Oscar Hammerstein in the lyrics to "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning" in "Oklahoma!"

He could have been referring to summer in Michigan, not Oklahoma.

My grandparents had a small farm. It wasn't their sole livelihood, but it kept them going during the depression and filled the larder during the cold winter months for as long as I could remember their being fit enough to manage it.

(Grandma, Grandpa, Grandma's brother Uncle Sam and his wife Aunt Merle,
and my Great Grandmother, Delia.)

I was often roped into helping pick whatever veggie or fruit was in season. I think they especially appreciated my strawberry picking skills -- I was much lower to the ground than any of the adults!

And of course, I "helped" with making strawberry jam, pickles and canning vegetables. I say "helped," but mostly I observed. However, going down to the cold cellar with the deep, dark cistern to help Grandma put the glass jars on the shelves was one of the high points of the whole process!

We had two mealtime traditions in the summer: Strawberry shortcake dinner in June (all shortcake, none of those nasty green things!), and Corn-on-the-cob dinner in August (all corn, with sweet butter, salt and pepper).

I loved them both.

These days, we don't really do that anymore. But when it's corn season, I can't resist a farm stand with corn picked fresh that day.

It isn't as good as that Grandma and Grandpa used to grow. But I'll boil it up (bring to a boil, boil three minutes and sit covered for 10), lay on the butter and add salt or my favorite new alternative -- the juice from a wedge of lime.

And I'll be thinking of my grandparents with every bite.


Joanne Huffman said...


anno said...

mmmm... sweet corn! My favorite way to eat it, though: corn fritter!

beth said...

can you believe that I have only had sweet corn once this season....with my braces, my front teeth are too sore to bite into the corn and I refuse to scrap it off...

hopefully in 2 weeks....I'm counting down...I'll be able to have some !!

Linda Jo said...

What a great photo of your relatives.

BONNIE K said...

I think there's nothing quite like the memory of going into our grandparents' cold basement!

Rosa said...

Yum. I can't say that I've had any corn this year! Better get moving! Daig diets!

jet1960 said...

I always had to help with either our garden and/or my grandparents. We had to plant, water, weed, pick, and process. I wasn't much of a vegetable eater when I was younger so I often resented helping with what I didn't eat anyway, but I've learned to like many foods I wouldn't eat before. Have always loved corn, though! Yuummm!

Julie H said...

Oh Yumm! I am a big fan of corn. I don't grow my own either, perhaps next year...yours looks delicious.

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