Snapping bean pods and shopping for jowl bacon and new potatoes

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Snapping bean pods and shopping for jowl bacon and new potatoes

It sure has been a blessing to finally receive some measurable rain. I sure did please my senses! It is noticeable our dried out lawn felt the moisture. I just came back in from a bit of work around the flower bed and securing some tomato cages in the soft earth. I also did the very thing that this old gardener decided to pass on a couple of months ago.

The other week when I stopped by the seed display , at the store, to buy flower seed, there before my wondering eyes were packets of Kentucky Wonder green bush beans.

I found my hand edging toward a colorful little packet and, on the spot; they and happy thoughts were growing in my head. In about 57 days we will be sitting on the patio out back snapping the green pods and thinking about shopping for jowl bacon and new potatoes.

Times past, I have told you about our old front porch at the homestead--a special place to my family--where we shared good times and made happy memories. Raising and snapping bushels of pole beans was one of our favorite activities there. Here, the bush bean is the preferred choice ; space is limited.

Our old front porch was not much on looks, but it was ours, other than that, we saw its beauty and worth.

Since Father’s Day is fast approaching, my timing to recall this happy memory is appropriate, in my opinion. My memories of my father are varied in content , however; this one would make him smile.

One summer, long after I grew up, I helped my elderly father build a large and heavy wooden step for the old front porch. I remember the project well.

The master of make-do rummaged through a pile of old lumber. He found some usable 2x4s and 2x6s. Next the saver of this and that and almost everything else grabbed up his stash of nails and screws ,that he housed in a small banded wooden keg in the feed shed. He pulled out a goodly amount of primitive hand tools and laughed about his inability to tell his helper their use or history. Hugh Lynch was a collector of priceless keepsakes including rusty old square nails in the bottom of that little barrel.

Dad dumped the variety of saves onto a burlap sack. He sorted through and selected the best of the lot.

His beagles came in from the chase in spills , in the meantime. A pooped pair of the pack chose to nap on the broken down , worn-out step that had been pulled away from the work -site.

We began working with the Grandpa Siner’s handsaw. My boss cursed some and complained about my failure to do things his way. That ran off of my back and always worked , as one of my best moves.

The old hammer, with the weathered hickory handle and dinged head fit my left hand just right. I straightened those bent nails. We built a sturdy step that day. He laughed and sang a ditty when the job was completed and we tried it out.

The foreman on the job patted me on the back and boasted, “By golly, ‘Laurel’ and ‘Hardy’ built a fine step.” The next day I painted the porch and fine step battleship gray. He pretended not to notice.

When the paint dried after several hours, the lawn chairs were back in place and my folks sat down with their handy helper and we snapped the green beans , until our fingers felt funny ,dead as door nails.

I wrote this poem in 2000. I think my father would like reading this one and I hope you do , as well.

Our Old Front Porch

Thinking of yesterday

Visions of my past

Memories of our old front porch

These I hold steadfast

It was a gathering place

For our family and our friends

A place where we could rest awhile

And tie up some loose ends

Sometimes we would snap green beans

While we sat awhile and talked things through

We would laugh at nothing, discuss the world

And squabbled a little too

Our old hound dogs would leisure

Lying listlessly at our feet

Mom would offer Kool-Aid

To refresh us from the heat.

The sparrows would be nesting

In the corner by the door

Our dad would let them nest

Until he couldn’t stand it anymore

Broom in hand he’d knock them down

The little birds would turn around

And build another where it had been

Homemade ice cream and watermelon too

Mother served on that old porch

And a lot was for me, Mary Lou

It welcomed friends and strangers

Who came knocking on the door

And ushered in the rain and snow

And, yes the old front porch

Was about a lot of things

That just don’t happen anymore.

Happy Father’s Day to all dads!

I can be reached by phone at 317 -286- 7352 or drop me a line to 649 South Grant Street, Brownsburg, IN., 46112.