Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I think it's best to have two ears

Not for me the heat and humidity, but there are two good things that come out in summer (and let's face it; even though it's almost still a week away, it's summertime when people start looking as wilted as Sarah Palin during one of those interviews when some smarty-pants reporter is askin' about who is her favorite Victorian poet and everything).

Those two things are corn and tomatoes. Fresh.

Back in the days of my bucolic boyhood, our house backed up to a 150-acre farm. Against all that makes sense, someone decided to turn it into a development and so they built 150 houses, and there went the really fresh corn and tomatoes that we used to enjoy. I can still hear Mama, ringing the old brass bell to call me in from my lollygaggin' and ballplayin', saying,"Son! Put down that baseball bat, put out that Marlboro, run on down the back 40 and fetch us a dozen ear o' corn and some nice plump 'maters!"

Actually, that quotation was somewhat stylized to make it more quaint. My real mother - and she's still with us, her base of operation having moved to a senior high rise several years ago - would no more use the term "fetch" than she would overhaul the transmission in her car. But you get the image, of a young man tanned from hours of indolence in the broiling sun, running around the fields in search of produce. Then on Sunday, right after meetin', we would stop off at the farmer's stand and settle up for a week's worth of chow.

And if you meet my Mom, you'll know why she was never called "Mama." She much preferred her standard nickname, "Mrs C."

Today, Mom calls Peggy and tells her what she needs from the store, and then Peggy texts me with the list and I stop at the Buy-Sum-More and run around the store to find everything. There is no bell involved, although I can change the ringtone on the cell phone to sound like an Old Fashioned Telephone, or Sir Mix-A-Lot performing that Big Butt Song. Of course, the Buy-Sum-More people want their money right away, so that saves me the return trip on Sunday to pay up.

We didn't know it at the time, but right after you slather your corn with pure creamery butter - and there is nothing better for your arteries than butter, widely regarded by Dr Nick Riviera as "nature's plaque remover" - the thing to do is turn that cob salmon-colored with Old Bay® seasoning, the seafood spice of the Gods. Folks around here discovered years ago that the best way to clean up around your crab-pickin' area is to wipe it down with a buttery ear of corn, so you get all that Old Bay® that otherwise would have been lost.

And then, you're gonna want a beer with that!

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