Summer Corn

We had corn on the cob the other day. In of itself, not all that spectacular of an occurrence. I bought a dozen not-so-great ears of corn at the farmer’s market, planning to try Paula Deen’s BBQ corn. I didn’t remember the recipe correctly, substituted Miracle Whip for mayo (confirming I still hate “the zing”) and the corn pretty much sucked. Here’s to picking up some Taber corn & some good ‘ol butter & salt.

Anyway, I husked the corn & cleaned the silk off the 12 ears while the kids were sleeping. I was about half way through when I was suddenly swept back to a childhood memory of five or six years old.

It was a blazing summer day and I was sitting at my Grandpa’s feet husking corn in their backyard. Grandpa is wearing a white t-shirt. The kind where you could roll your pack of smokes at the top of the sleeve, except he hadn’t smoked for years. He’s sitting in one of those 80’s plastic weaved lawn chairs that always left marks in my fat. I’m wearing a dress with summer flip flops and relishing the feeling of the cool grass on my bare legs. His big, strong and calloused hands can husk nine or ten ears while my little hands struggle to keep up. We aren’t really talking other than his encouraging words which keep me from getting frustrated and abandoning the stubborn silk on my single ear of corn. Every once in a while a light breeze picks up Grandpa’s scent. I think it was a mixture of his after shave and Crown Royal.

There was constant traffic at my grandparent’s house – big family. Summer Sundays were usually spent eating buckets of chicken, oven fries and counting the days until we could attack the peas Grandpa had been tending to all summer long.

On this particular day, I don’t remember there being anyone in the yard with us. Just him, me and the corn.  

I don’t know when Grandpa’s birthday was, when he moved to Canada or when my grandparents got married. I don’t know how many brothers and sisters he had or what his parents names were. I don’t even think I have a picture of just him and I. I know that is part of the reason I am such a scrapbooking fiend, my kids are going to know our stories, and if I’m not around to meet my grandkids, my scrapbooks will be part of my legacy.

I do have my memories of him and the knowledge that he was good, kind & loud – no one could yell at the TV like him.

It’s been fourteen years and a few months since my high school commencement ceremony, which was also the day Grandpa left us and the beginning of my life unravelling and the long road to finding myself. I am thankful for the corn that took me back to the summer day when it was just us hanging out, and look forward to the day when I can share a whiskey with him.


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