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Sweet Kernels

I love corn and so does most everyone in my family, especially my brother, Robert. When he was a little boy, my mother always planted extra corn in the garden so she’d have plenty to freeze for Sunday dinners during the fall and winter. So it was no surprise to me that when my brother planted his own garden this summer, he sowed rows and rows of corn.

One hot summer night about dusk, he invited my family down to help put up corn. We aren’t gardeners, but we sure have enjoyed the fruits of my brother’s labor, so we figured the least we could do was help out at harvest time.

My husband and our oldest son helped Robert pick the ears off the stalks while the younger boys shucked. There was lots of good-natured grumbling about the heat (one of the boys said it was more than 100 degrees) and mosquitoes (supposedly the size of a small dog), but in a while we had an assembly line going with everyone actively involved.

After all the ears were shucked, we moved to the back porch with knives and pans to begin the cutting process. Before the night was over, we were covered with sweet, sticky corn kernels. Even Pearl, my brother’s Jack Russell, got in on the act. She spent most of the night parading around with a corncob in her mouth, as if to say she wasn’t about to be excluded.

That night brought back so many (dare I say corny) memories. In my mind’s eye, I could clearly see Mom and Grandma in our kitchen laboring over corn. They had a long stick-like device that sheared the corn off the cob and into a pan. I distinctly remember corn being stuck to the window above the kitchen sink and even to Mom’s glasses. At the end of the process, the plump, yellow bags of corn would be cooled then carried downstairs to the deep freezer. Corn was always on the table for Sunday dinners, birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

This Thanksgiving when we gather around our table, I’m sure there will be plenty of corn, and I’m just as certain there will be lots of slightly exaggerated stories to share about the night we worked in Robert’s garden.

Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours.

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