Chuck Terrill: Some more good memories of springtime
I ordered the “beans and greens” with cornbread at Cracker Barrel the other day.
I guess I was missing the good old days. When I was a boy, my maternal grandmother insisted that we eat greens early in the spring time.
“They are good for you,” she said.
Boys don't necessarily like green stuff in a bowl or on a plate. But when Grannie said, “Be still and eat it!” you were convinced you could not do otherwise.
And, the greens she made were delicious. They always had some form of pork in them, either bacon, jowl, or fat; served steaming hot with a little vinegar splashed in for bitterness sake. Homemade squares of sweet cornbread and fresh pulled wild onions rounded out the meal.
The best part about eating greens in springtime was gathering them. Grandma wore an old sun bonnet and took us outside early in the morning. The dew was still wet on the new grass when we walked the cow pastures. Everything looked shiny and sparkly in the early morning sunshine. We would gather wild dock, wild lettuce, wild onions, lamb's quarter, poke sallet, and even some tender young dandelions.
Grannie would inspect everything we handed her, name it, and tell us whether it was edible or not. We learned what was good for us, and what was not good for us. What was good went into her big apron, and what was not good dropped to the ground. Eventually, we knew exactly what she wanted. She would praise us profusely when we gave her something that was actually edible.
So, reminiscing made me hungry for greens. I ordered them. I dashed on a little vinegar. They tasted pretty good. Not as good as I had remembered, but still good. I dumped some onions in my beans, a little hot chow-chow, stirred it up, and dug in.
Reminiscing made me miss my Grannie, too. These are some happy memories. I am tempted to take my grandchildren out early some Saturday morning to pick some greens. It would be good for them to have some happy memories of the “good old days.”
Don't worry — we have the Poison Control number posted next to our telephone.
Chuck Terrill, who has doctorates from Master Theological Seminary and Trinity Seminary, is the senior minister at First Christian Church in Cassville. He may be reached at 417-847-2460.