Many, many days of my youth were spent sitting on my grandparents’ porch shelling beans. I do it often at my own home and there’s not a single time that I don’t think of them and the good times we had. In Louisiana, on a dusty dirt road, with no air conditioning for most of the years, Butch and Blondie, the cocker spaniels at our feet, while we sat for hours and hours shelling beans – pinto beans, purple hull peas, cream peas, lima bean . . you name it . . my grandpa grew it.
Friends would sometimes stop by, and, of course, they always grabbed a bowl and helped. My parents were sometimes there and they would always help.
There were lots of conversations held on that old front porch.
As I sit alone on our porch shelling beans for hours and hours, many thoughts run through my head. Last night I was thinking about my grandparents living in the same house pretty much their entire married life, probably more than 50 years in one house. I think my grandma was about 75 when they left the farm and moved two hours south to be closer to my parents and my uncle. I can’t even comprehend what it would have been like to have lived in the same house for 50 years, or the same town for 50 years.
I wish I had taken the time to tell my grandparents how much of an influence they had on my life but heck, when they passed away, I probably didn’t even realize the depth of their influence on my life. I believe my love for the country, the front porch, the chickens, the garden . . I believe it all started with the time I spent at my grandparents’ farm. I loved being there!
My grandpa had a huge garden. I have no idea how big it was. My own garden is 100′ x 100′ and if I had to guess, I would say his was at least four times that big. But I was a child and as I was running down the rows, it seemed huge. As I was a teen, it seemed huge because it produced all those beans I had to help shell.
When I was out picking beans last night, I thought . . this is probably the first time my grandpa would really be proud of my garden. I’ve always had a garden and if I know my grandpa, he probably laughed at my efforts. I’m sure he was happy to see me trying but, compared to his garden, mine was never a huge success but this year, I have a successful garden.
I doubt my grandpa ever saw the purple snap beans like I have growing that are so sweet and so good. I don’t even know if he would have tried growing them or if he would have stuck with what he knew worked.
Yesterday’s lunch was snap beans and carrots from the garden and leftover brisket. I’m not sure if I got my love of gardening from my grandparents. They may have done it simply because they had to do it to survive. Maybe they loved it. I have no idea. I’m so thankful for the memories I have . . time spent at their farm with the garden, the chickens and the milk cow.
This is the time of year when the grass burrs are horrible, the grasshoppers are flying down my shirt and up my sleeves and in my mouth and it’s hot and it’s dry and I’m saying . . I’m not planting a garden next year!
But, I know I will. I’m already thinking about what I’ll plant and where I’ll plant it!