Some memories not passed on
Published 9:40 am Monday, September 10, 2007
I've upset myself again. Not over anything big, but certainly over something I have the ability to change.
I'm upset because my child is missing out on so much that, as an adult, I remember enjoying as a child.
If you are a regular reader of this paper, you may have seen the column I write every Wednesday about cooking. Last week, the column was all about boiled peanuts, one of the great memories of my childhood.
I realized after writing that column, that my son has absolutely no idea what a peanut boiling is all about. He likes to eat boiled peanuts, but all he knows about cooking them is that he has seen a big pot sitting on top of his dad's turkey fryer set-up with peanuts cooking away. He only knows that I put them on to cook and occasionally stir the contents of the pot until they are taken off the heat.
He doesn't know about pulling peanut vines from the ground and shaking off the dirt. He doesn't know about putting them in stacks to be gathered after everything has been pulled up. He doesn't know about sitting under big oak trees to keep cool while pulling the wonderful nuts from those dirty vines. He doesn't know about getting so dirty from the job that you get to go to the creek for a quick swim after the work is finished. He has no idea how much fun he is missing.
I can remember as a child pulling peanuts from the ground and sitting under that big oak tree in the yard as we tugged on the peanuts to release them from their vine. In the center of the circle our family formed for just such a chore was a huge washtub. The peanuts were thrown into the tub and the vines were thrown to the side. As the washtub began to fill with the peanuts, our laps would fill with dirt. When the job was complete, we would be covered with so much soil from the garden, you'd be hard pressed to find a clean toe in the whole bunch.
The fact that we were covered from head to toe with dirt didn't bother us much. We knew we would be headed to our favorite swimming hole at Cedar Creek to wash away the dirt from the chore. That was certainly a treat that was worth the work the peanut harvest required.
The dip in the creek was only first part of the pleasure of pulling peanuts. Not only would we be enjoying the salty, boiled peanuts in just a couple of hours, so would our aunts, uncles, cousins and neighbors.
I can remember a time when my daddy built a fire underneath an old, iron wash pot and boiled peanuts for hours. As the peanuts got tender enough to be declared “done”, they would be strained from the water and the pig-fest would begin. There were usually a few cold co-colas somewhere when this event took place and everyone had a great time.
I guess this particular time of year brings about many memories from my childhood - like lightening bug catching, hayrides and football games. My son has been to many football games but has never caught a lightening bug and has never been on a hayride.
There are so many other things I enjoyed as a child that I have not given him an opportunity to enjoy. He's never been fishing, he's never been camping (except in the middle of the living room floor), and he's never milked a cow (which is still not likely to happen).
I hope that at some point in the near future, I can drag my lazy bones up from the soft, comfortable chair that sits in front of a big-screen television inside an air conditioned house and allow my child the opportunity to enjoy activities that will be fond memories for him when he reaches my age.
Peanut boilings are great events - and who knew they would be great memory makers as well?
Lisa Tindell is a news reporter for The Brewton Standard. She may be reached at 867-4876 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.