Remembering bean picking time

Mildred Higgins
Mildred Higgins

While sipping morning coffee, reading notes from friends and readers. I’m reminded that over the years the privilege of writing Memories has gifted me with many friendships. I look upon each new day as a gift and feel blessed to have loyal readers.

I go back to childhood remembering one of the simplest days turns out to be a wonderful memory.

Bean picking time; my mission took me no further then a scamper across the cow pasture on a hot summer day to fetch a pail of fresh picked green beans from Aunt Nanny McCormick’s garden.

To my mind, a scramble across the pasture on a summer day turned out to be like an adventure-filled odyssey that I remember to this day…

As far back as I can remember, grandma’s ritual for canning started by dragging out her canning equipment, with bushel baskets of beans to snap, while sitting on the back porch.

Grandma called canning time “putting up” for winter months.

Our family planted a vegetable garden, but sometimes bartered with neighbors for different kinds of vegetables to satisfy grandma’s variety to fill her pantry with jars lining the shelves to ensure good eating through the winter months.

Aunt Nanny’s beans were the best for stringing on threads to dry, better know as shuck beans or leather britches. Grandma called a mess of shuck beans cooked on a winter day, “comfort food at its best.”

Aunt Nanny was keeping a watchful eye for me to arrive up the garden path from the pasture that separated our houses. Grandma urged me not to dilly-dally too long at the pond she knew I always stopped to make a wish I hoped to come true. 

The pond was filled with wiggly tadpoles that held my attention long enough to see a beautiful Dragonfly take flight and disappeared in the tall pond plants.

Continuing on I soon encountered my first real obstacle, a barbed wire fence that always snagged my clothing no matter how careful I navigated it. This day I managed to free myself, swinging the empty pail over my head scooting on through the opening.

Aunt Nanny waited patiently on my arrival; I think it was a treat for her to see my well scrubbed face in spite of my well worn clothes. She knew I was on a mission-helping grandma.

She filled my pail to the top with beans and reminded me to be careful on the trip back to grandmas’.

The loaded pail was heavy with the beans. I could not swing it as freely as when it was empty. I knew Aunt Nanny was keeping a watchful eye on my trip back so I completely stayed focused until I crossed the fence. My exploring nature slowed me down to watch a beautiful butterfly that appeared to dance on a field flower then I crossed the fence without spilling the beans.

As I think back to that childhood memory, a scramble across a pasture on a summer’s day to fetch a pail of beans seemed like an adventure-filled odyssey, participating in a summer ritual preserving a lot more the vegetables.

Millie’s thought for today author unknown: “Oh the merry days when we were young, by hill and forest glen, we chased the shadows then, none could blithe as we were young.”

My quote for today; “enjoy the little things, as for one day you may look back and realize they aren the big things.”