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Oh Give Me A Home…

November 9, 2010
Young stalks

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Mary sent me a link for a corn muffin. The recipe sounds promising and I forwarded it to another online friend who is also searching for that perfect fat-free cornbread facsimile. With that “forward” came a little trip back in time. I decided to share the side trip with you.  Here is part of my letter to Lynn,


Your letter brings back such dreams. I, too had little log home (two actually, one tiny in the mountains in my twenties and another larger, custom-built one later). Anyway, the tiny one was on five acres and I dreamed of somehow going back in time and living so simply there with a loving family. The spouse of that scenario proved to be a raging alcoholic, we almost froze to death with only a wood heater to heat the whole uninsulated home-made log house in the Winter and my seven-year old chopped down a tiny cedar tree for our Christmas that last Winter there. Oh well, it made for some great stories and none of us were any worse for wear I suppose, tougher, smarter, heartier, or so I thought. Maybe we were actually broken and damaged beyond repair, but how would one ever know?

These days I bounce between wanting that same simple life I once dreamed of and dreaming of a maid. I want to make the bread, but I want a nice frig with a roomy freezer. I want a cozy fire, but Lee and I both need someone else to cut, split and stack the wood. Someone to bring it in and clean the mess would be nice, too! Speaking of mess, I’m pretty serious about wanting the maid. I was priding myself on my ability to clean our small house puttering away each day so that by week’s end, the house was somewhat clean. Either I am worse or this house is far dirtier. It has not resembled clean at week’s end in a while.

I remember a batch of apple butter I made years ago, around 30 half pints or so. After it was all said and done, sealed and stacked in all its apple glory, I realized I’d used Chili powder instead of some other spice the recipe called for. I was sick with despair until I opened the first jar and found it tasted just fine.

Another time though, we’d picked our entire corn crop. That stuff comes in all at once you know. Anyway, I used a corn cutter, not sure if you know what I’m talking about, but it’s a wooden contraption that you rake the cob over and it cuts the kernels and everything else edible off the cob, with several swipes of course. It’s manual labor with a capital ‘M.” This makes the creamed corn of dreams and doesn’t begin to compare with what comes in a can or even in the freezer section of a store. Well, a few bushels later, I’d cut and blanched and put into freezer containers our entire corn crop. It was well into the night, almost daylight when I’d finally finished. I cleaned the kitchen, wiped down the counter and finally went to bed to grab an hour or so of sleep. It was a hot night and the one window air conditioner unit we had did little to cut the hideous heat.

I awoke almost in a fog I was so tired. As I was getting the kids ready for school while juggling my then oldest daughter who was less than a year old, I saw what to this very day still breaks my heart and is almost too painful a memory to bear.

There on the table,

was every quart size container full of corn I had spent the previous 24 hours preparing and months of growing. It was sour of course, from the sweltering heat.

I didn’t touch that corn cutter except to move it from one house to the next over the years, until this past Summer. I finally took it out of the drawer and used it on three ears of corn. Just three little ears, just enough for Lee and I. Words cannot begin to describe how delicious that corn was. It wasn’t near as hard to prepare I remember, but then I’d never prepared creamed corn for just two people before. I fixed it for us several times over the Summer when we brought home fresh corn from the store or roadside stand.

Oh well, I’m not sure what provoked that little trip down memory lane, but thanks for going with me.

It is memories such as this that flavor my mind and heart and co-create the flavor or lack thereof on my plate.

It’s funny how the things we believe are so profound and will make or break each other and ourselves, are seldom even remembered and yet, the things we thought trivial, barely mattering at all, shape us and mold us, wound us and heal us.

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