Peanuts, Peaches, and People

The other day, I broke our porch party rules and brought up the subject of so-and-so’s behavior. The longer my husband and I talked, the more  judgmental I became–at least in my heart.

For a while that day, I thought I knew everything. 

We headed to  Thompson Family Farms to buy fresh peaches, my mind still analyzing someone else’s business.

“I love this place,” I said when we got out of the car. “I know all about Georgia produce.”

Finally! A place where my expertise can shine!

“I grew up shelling butter beans.”  I grabbed some frozen field peas. “Daddy had a garden every summer. ”

“We even canned tomatoes when I was little,” I said.

Of course, I knew everything there was to know about sweet Vidalia onions. I’d lived my whole life in Georgia.

“Oh, look! They have yellow meat watermelons.”

That’s what you call a yellow watermelon down South–yellow meat.

Feeling sorta smug, I sniffed the cantaloupes until I found a perfect one.

Then something unexpected happened. 

I spotted a bucket of peanuts.

Strange, because they weren’t boiled peanuts, like you find in Georgia.

They were shelled and put into baggies.

“What are these?” I said to the cashier.

“Fried peanuts.”

“Never heard of them. “

“They’re delicious. Try some.”

I bought a bag and told her I was making homemade peach ice cream the next day.

“If you want your peaches to ripen in a hurry, put them outside. Spread them out on a table, so they aren’t touching each other.”

“Huh. Never knew that.”

Back at home, I tasted fried peanuts for the first time.

Amaaaaaazing.

I put the peaches outside in the heat. A few hours later, they were soft.

Just like she said.

A thought hit me.

I bet there’s something I don’t know about the person and the situation I’d been so quick to judge.

Forgive me, Lord. Help me keep it simple. 

I don’t know everything about peanuts, peaches, and especially people.

Can you relate?

Have you been humbled lately?

Or learned something new?

If you chose a word this year, how’s it going? It’s already July!

Love,

Julie

For my homemade peach ice cream recipe in Guideposts magazine, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Reminiscing about Rutabagas

I’ve always been able to ask my mother anything. She doesn’t know about numbers, money, or directions–and she doesn’t want to, but she understands emotions. I called her New Year’s Day. “I cooked collards and black-eyed peas. How ’bout you?”

“I had rutabagas,” she said.

I laughed. “Really? I didn’t know rutabagas are a real food. How’d you cook them?”

“I opened a can and poured them in a pot.”

“Have you ever bought fresh ones?”

“Once, but they were horrible to peel. Like a coconut or a rock.”

“I’ve never noticed them at the grocery store,” I said.

“I always look away and head to the canned goods.”

“Did you grow up eating them?”

“Oh, yes. I’d come home on a cold winter’s eve with the trees bare and gray sky behind them. I’d run inside and Mother was in the kitchen cooking. The whole house smelled like rutabagas.”

“What do they smell like?”

“Wintertime. Security.”

“What color are they after you cook them?”

“Pumpkin-orange.”

“What did Goge (my grandmother) fix to go with them?”

“Turnip greens, pork chops, cornbread, sweet tea, and gingerbread for desert. She’d say, ‘Talk to me while I cook. Tell me what you did today.’ Now when I eat rutabagas, I go back in time. I’m standing behind my mother at the stove. She’s stirring… like I’m seeing a painting I love.”

“Rutabagas mean more than eating vegetables, don’t they?”

“They sure do. They mean, I love you. No matter what happens in life, you’re gonna be okay,” she said softly.

“Thank you, Mother.” I tucked her message deep inside my heart.

My dear friends, I’m sending you a plateful of warm rutabaga-love on this January day.

Love,

Julie

*bottom picture from QueenaSookKim flickr