Thursday, August 09, 2007

Silver Queen for Dinner




Dave was getting antsy from practically a whole day without shopping so he left me alone with my laptop and TV and went over to the next town, Gruetli-Laager, to the Ace Hardware for a browse. Next door is Dollar General and then the Piggly Wiggly. What more could a man want?


While at Dollar he met up with Bill again, our neighbor with the Silver Queen corn for sale. Bill was paying for his purchases from a handful of change that included several 22 caliber bullets. Since he was robbed several years ago he never wants to be without some ammo. He worked hard for what those robbers took and it has obviously affected him deeply. In our twice meetings with him the subject has come up both times.
When Dave returned from shopping (broom, oil filters, Q-tips, pry bar, shovel) he insisted we go back to Bill's and get that sweet corn before it gets too old to eat.


Bill and his 'signifikin' other' Clara were out in the yard having a brewski and listening to the chickens. Clara is a 'widder lady' that was married to a pal of Bill's who died about six years ago. Bill attended the funeral and then the very next day Clara invited him over for a chicken dinner and they have been together ever since. Ah, romance blooms in Palmer.



Before we got the corn we were regaled with stories of the folks around town. The Widemore's were 'goin' on the innernet chasin' down their roots' and found kin down in Alabama and then had some free time and found themselves going up to Kentucky in search of another Widemore. They located the home of Charles Widemore and knocked on his door. A black man answered ,


"Are you Charles Widemore?"



"I is, I is!"



That ended their interest in chasin' down their roots.



Bill started telling us about Sarah who was old when he was a kid and now must be 147. She is such a gossip that they call her the Mouth of the South. He wanted to tell us more but Clara made him stop.

Clara and Dave out in the field of corn. There is so much here and not that many customers.

" You can freeze corn," sez Bill. "We eat it all winter."

I guess.


Speckled red beans. These don't give Bill gas like the pinto beans, we were informed.


Thanks for the info.

Their garden was hiding lots of surprises amongst the weeds, including several varieties of watermelons, such as these cute icebox sized beauties.



Clara called this a sweet potato squash. It is HUGE. That is my dainty foot for comparison. I have never heard of this variety, but then I am from the city.


Pumpkins from Mars.



And okra. My first time to see this vegetable growing. Now I know I am really in the South.

We bought a dozen ears of corn and Dave paid double for the pleasure. I had the water boiling the minute we got back. Real butter, kosher salt and cracked pepper and...a cold glass of beer. O August, your bounty exceeds our imaginings.

47 comments:

  1. Your neighbors remind me forcibly of some else I used to know....

    But I'm sure they're very nice, anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Rhonda7:44 AM

    Mel, you were my first laugh of the morning. How funny. I am not from the South, but I am a ranch girl from the north (Montana), and definitely recognize the dialogue.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Maybe you have stumbled on an idea for a second career - organic vegetables. The corn looks fantastic! We have not had any good corn this season. Very disappointing. You guys are really going to enjoy this new life. I'm pleased for you that you have found such a wonderful place. Enjoy every minute!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sequana8:17 AM

    This blog is so much more fun now that you've stopped with all the quilt and fabric info...*L*
    I feel like I've just taken a trip to another planet.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous8:17 AM

    Mrs. Mel, you are hilarious! I enjoy every minute of your escapades in the South.

    Roxane in Raleigh

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ya hear now, makin' sure it's picked early in the monin' so as the sugar don't rise with the heat of the sun.

    Enjoy Mel & Dave, enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
  7. You are gettin a reel edukashun down there.
    The corn looks good, but you didn't mention how it was.

    By the way, Bill is right. Freeze the corn. You can cook it first and take it off the cob or the other way. Some people nuke it. There are so many ways of cooking it on the cob once it's been frozen. We usually remove it from the cob and then cook it with butter. Delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I join the chorus of freezing the corn. It's heavenly in the winter when there's nothing fresh tasting-and let me give a shout out to FRIED OKRA Oh My Oh My-Honey you need you some fried okra.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous8:57 AM

    Mel...

    Consider writing a book--your prose is priceless! You don't even have to dream up any characters!

    Sharon

    ReplyDelete
  10. bonnie9:14 AM

    The sign should read:

    Fresh Corn $2.50

    Conversation: Priceless

    ReplyDelete
  11. My mouth is watering! See ya soon.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh God Mel...I laughed real tears over this one!! If you hear anyone "squealing like a pig" in the woods, just stay on the porch...ok?

    Carol - livin' in the country and lookin' over her shoulder

    ReplyDelete
  13. Anonymous9:40 AM

    Know you aren't using last names...but did you ask permission to blog about Bill and his wife and all of the other "characters" that you have described and blogged about....maybe I am a bit too sensitive...but I hate to see people being made fun of...just for the way they look or talk. I am from the South...if you were in trouble or needed help these folks would be right there for you....these folks are real, not phoney and they are true blue...you can count your blessings that these kind gentle people are your neighbors. Welcome to the South.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Anonymous10:43 AM

    I second this comment--these are wonderful people--unspoiled by the ravages of today's "polite society." The fact that they are "plain" by society's standards shouldn't make them targets for ridicule or public humiliation.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous10:46 AM

    I agree! It's one thing to describe a funny moment, but it's the little sarcastic remarks that appear derisive and would be hurtful to those being described. I'm surprised that someone with a joyous, loving heart like Mel's would publicly laugh at people, let alone her new neighbor's who would, guaranteed, come to her aid in a time of need.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anonymous10:53 AM

    Be careful--don't become the typical "northerner" that people in the south have grown to mistrust and avoid. They will open up their hearts (and homes) to you, but will soon detect that "northern mentality."

    ReplyDelete
  17. Anonymous11:09 AM

    I am a bit alarmed that one could have a conversation with a person, maybe get in a photo, and end up on the internet. I would be very upset by this. Doesn't matter if they are nice people or not. I think you should be more careful of other people's privacy.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oh Melody...

    I just read the anonymous comments and thought maybe I should clarify what I said in my earlier comment and sort of "run to the rescue" here for you too. Your post definitely made me laugh today...not because I felt you were making fun...but because of the transition you're going through. When I first came to live in the country, I went through a few of the same things too...even though I am a REALLY accepting person (and probably have a shirt or two of my own with only one button)... The story about how Bill and his significant "other" got together made me laugh, but that's the way things can be in the country...very natural and forgiving. I can only wonder what they would think if they were transplanted into the big city and heard about 60 second dating (that crazy thing where singles meet at a restaurant and play musical chairs around the room meeting other singles to see if anyone "clicks"). As I said in my post yesterday, you'll find that these gentle people will do anything for you and will run to the rescue in a time of need. I know you're already finding that out. After a couple of year, you'll be so totally acclimated, you'll wonder how you ever lived in the city! There will always be "characters" though...and somehow in the country you get to know them.
    You simply MUST watch the Diane Keaton movie "Baby Boom". It's about a high-powered city girl who moves to the country and goes through situations EXACTLY like what you're going through...and her perception of country life...and then it follows through her transition. It's just a wonderful movie. If you can't find it, email me with a mailing address and I'll send my copy to you. It's the only movie I've ever watched more than once. You will totally see yourself in it..I promise.

    Carol - who just knows that happy heart of yours is just observing and not laughing at these people..and who also finds it funny thinking about what THEY'RE thinking about YOU!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Glad to see that you are getting out and about, enjoying your new neighbors. something about when in Rome, do as...

    I've been reading your blog, anticipating our own retirement in a couple years. thanks for your honesty about the whole process.

    Diane

    ReplyDelete
  20. Mrs. Mel,
    I want to tell you about the sweet potato squash. When we were volunteering at the foodbank last summer, we were gifted with one of these! It was bigger than a watermelon, and kind of football shaped.
    I poked it with a fork, cooked it whole, shlepped out the seeds, then pureed it in my food processor. We then froze it in tupperware in 3 cup alotments- just right for a pie.
    This squash is so very sweet. It is wonderful for supper, or in a pie. My kids thawed it, and ate it for breakfast, as is, without sugar. It is that good. If you get a chance to buy one from your neighbors, I would do so.

    I also agree about freezing the corn. It is a wonderful treat in the middle of winter.

    It has been great to watch your journey to the south.

    Give Dave a hello hug,
    LB

    ReplyDelete
  21. Cheryl1:19 PM

    Hi---Please ignore the overly-sensitive people concerning your description of your neighbor. I don't know you well but I KNOW you aren't a cruel person.I enjoyed your post.I live in the country.I have for years.I know these plain country people (types) and would have told the story the same way.Yes, they are wonderful people who will do ANYTHING for you :)I am so happy you found your little piece of paradise.GOOD LUCK :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anonymous1:29 PM

    I am one of those "overly-sensitive" people who is speaking from personal experience--having "been there and done that." Please don't ignore, but take into consideration, as you begin your new life in the south.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hey Mel...

    I am sure your southern neighbors are very easy going folks. I don't think you overstepped any bounds. Your humor is light hearted, but do know that in the country that everyone knows everyone and most of them are related to each other and many times they will keep this info from outsiders. So watch what you say to others in the community about others also in the same community as they may be cus-zins without you knowing or without them saying anything to you about whom they are related to.

    As far as the corn. You can freeze it without blanching it. You can husk it and directly freeze it or you can cut the ends off, leave the husks on and directly freeze it. Get yourself a vacuum bagger for freezing!

    The trick to the frozen corn is "do not defrost it first". Get the water boiling and toss the frozen de-husked corn in the pot or nuke it with the husks on in the microwave.

    The frozen corn on the cob is good but of course it never tastes like it is fresh out the field.

    BRS

    ReplyDelete
  24. I am surprised that Bill did not have any red mators to sell you!
    Tell Bill to grow ya some red mators next year. (that's what this hillbilly calls them)

    I bet Bill will grow anything (legal) you ask him to grow and he'd be happy to sell it to ya cheaply.

    I see Bill rolls his own tobacco!

    You have made new friend indeed and I am sure you will enjoy his future stories greatly.

    BRS

    ReplyDelete
  25. You have made A new friend indeed and I am sure you will enjoy his future stories greatly.

    ReplyDelete
  26. one more comment...

    You better have Dave go out and buy a few pairs of bib overalls.

    They are required attire in the country. Just make sure you Dave does tighten the shoulder straps too much otherwise they will be flossing his crack.

    Surely there is a general farm supply store in the area that sells bib overalls and the supplies you need for around the homestead. Ask Bill if there is one. (Rural King, etc)

    BRS

    ReplyDelete
  27. Anonymous2:45 PM

    I am not sure whats the humor in this man reaction to finding out his last name is shared by an afro-american.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hey Anonymous...

    Since you want to be so PC...
    The last time I checked african americans don't like to be call afro americans, just like asians don't like to be call orientals.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hey Anonymous...

    Since you want to be so PC...
    The last time I checked african americans don't like to be call afro americans, just like asians don't like to be call orientals.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Anonymous3:35 PM

    Mel,
    Skip the butter on that silver queen and enjoy the sweetness. The flavor change will be amazing - butter can mask it a bit.

    I don't think that you do not mean harm in what you are saying. It is sort of overwhelming to land in this strange country "the American South" and you are in a rural area as well. Just appreciate us for our differences. Wait till you show them your version of a quilt. That will be a great story!

    Marty
    In SC

    ReplyDelete
  31. Anonymous4:56 PM

    Mel,

    You join a host of American writers who write delightfully on regional differences. Your humor is gentle and accepting.

    Yes, and as someone else said, I'm sure you and Dave have entered your neighbor's repertoire of stories!

    Sharon

    ReplyDelete
  32. Anonymous5:57 PM

    As most of us have probably experienced in the past, it is very difficult to discern tone in emails and electronic communication. No matter how good-hearted and well-intentioned a writer may be, talking about someone else in such a visible electronic environment opens up opportunities for just these kinds of reactions. I'm assuming that most readers don't know "Mel." The exposure they are getting through this blog is one that can easily be interpreted as poking fun at uneducated country folk. If Mel had lived in the south for years and was talking about her neighbors as if she were one of them, it would be something different.

    I second (or third) the comment about that sweet potato pumpkin--it's delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Anonymous7:06 PM

    We live in S. Texas and I am originally from MI so this time of the year I certainly miss the fresh corn and tomatoes. I can remember making a meal of just these two yummy delights!!! I've never been able to acquire the taste for corn on the cob with mayo instead of butter! That's how they eat it down here!! It doesn't matter anyway because they don't have very good corn here. Savor a couple bites for me :(

    ReplyDelete
  34. Anonymous8:08 PM

    Eeeeeww! Corn with mayo?!
    Yeah, the corn looks good, but it don't look like silver queen.
    - L

    ReplyDelete
  35. Anonymous8:11 PM

    I think that you are so fortunate to be having the experiences you are having and meeting these salt of the earth people.
    I looked up Greutli-Laager, because the name is so incongruous with the place. Interesting bit of history. 14 churches and 1 school. Oy vey!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Anonymous11:59 PM

    and for the record, southern country folk can spell...even if they have an accent and enjoy the simple life.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Anonymous1:38 AM

    If you value your neighbors, I wouldn't make fun of them. Think how you'd feel if someone from the South moved next door to your old house and imitated your accent.

    It's not unlikely one of them will read your blog one day and be hurt.

    I wouldn't say anything on an open forum that I wouldn't say to someone's face.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Anonymous6:20 AM

    Hey all you other Anons, please don't critize Ms Mel so harshly! Gaaawwwdd! I was so happy to see a bit of this 'country' life in pictures.

    Ms Mel was just relating/repeating what she was told. She did not chose the words of the conversation herself!

    I take it you are all beyond reproach!!!

    I'd be very careful because there is a woman who reads Ms Mel's blog who goes by the name of Rosie and she will lash out at you all in a really nasty manner. Don't say you weren't warned.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Anonymous6:21 AM

    Correction:
    'choose' the words.....etc.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Anonymous6:52 AM

    Anyone who publishes in a public forum such as this is open to public comment--good, bad, or ugly.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I think the story Mrs Mel has told is just cute as a button, and I'm sure Bill & Clara would nod in agreement! Bill sure didn't mind getting his picture taken and telling his story!! Please keep passing on these stories to us - I just love em! Ignore the negative anonymous whoevers ... they take stuff to serious and are no fun!

    ReplyDelete
  42. I totally agree Mechelle. Anyone who has read ANY of this blog or has ever seen this woman on the PBS quilt special just HAS to know how high-spirited and fun she is. How could a hurtful person make such joyous quilts!!?? I loved the story, Mel.

    Here in Texas, I am still seeing shirts and hats with "Git-r-done" or any number of the Jeff Foxworthy "You might be a redneck if" lines. Nothing hurtful was said here...I'll bet her neighbors are "blogging" about her in their own way. Her observations were funny and endearing.

    As for Rosie reading this blog, I HOPE SHE IS!!! She knows better than anyone what it is to be missquoted and misunderstood and then to be villified and to NOT have her friends come to her defense!! I will never watch that putrid show again!! She was it's only saving grace.

    Oh...and one last thing. To that last anonymous writer. Someone who writes in an open forum such as this DOES NOT have to suffer such brutal comment. Mel can moderate postings to her blog and she has chosen not to. I think it speaks volumes for her that she has allowed this venom to be posted here. I'm thinkin' you should flip the switch Mel...really.

    I don't think the woman meant anything hurtful. Please just let her up...this has to be incredibly painful for her. She has shared so much with all of us...taught us so much...given so much so freely. I hate the thought that she will not share her life with us in this same way simply because her humor was misunderstood. She deserves, at the very least, the benefit of the doubt from those of you who are judging her so harshly.
    Ok..off my soapbox.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Mel, I laughed out loud at your hilarious descriptions of their accent. I know you weren't making fun of them directly, but delighting in the nuances of this new "language."

    Party on, Mel. Party on.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Anonymous12:45 PM

    As the anonymous writer who spoke about posting to public forums, I find it interesting that one can not only comment about the original writer, but about those who post as well--and those who post have no option to remove comments from other posters. Perhaps Mel has left these online because she is traveling and not able to remove them. Perhaps she is enjoying the musings of those who are posting. I think that all those who have posted here have valid points. (i.e., did Mel actually get permission from these people to post their pictures? If so, there should be a statement to that effect on the blog.) There really isn't any need for blaming and finger-pointing.

    ReplyDelete
  45. dan C7:26 PM

    You know, the toothbrush was invented in Palmer, TN.

    And if it had been invented anywhere else it would have been called a teethbrush!

    ReplyDelete
  46. Anonymous7:31 PM

    I was the first to post my concern to Mel...that she needed to be careful how she posted about her new neighbors...as far as Rosie...don't like her at all but do know that she found out first hand that words making fun of someone can come back to "Git Ya" ! I am sure that Mel didn't realize how her words might be misunderstood...perhaps realizing this NOW...is a good thing.

    ReplyDelete
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Hello,
So nice of you to drop by. I love your comments, and if you would really like a reply, please email me at fibermania at g mail dot com