Meanwhile, back on the farm

Published 9:52 am Thursday, May 12, 2011

Last week, almost everyone was giddy at the getting of Osama bin Laden.

The President refused to “spike the ball,” as he called it, by releasing the gruesome photos of the dead body of the terrorist. That was OK with me. I don’t need to see anything like that. I choose to believe, without a picture, that the Navy SEALs were successful.

The President, though, seems like a calculating fellow to me. Maybe it’s just me, but, even though he said he did not want to accent the action of killing bin Laden, he seemed to make a lot of speeches with a lot of photo-ops doing that very thing.

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Meanwhile, back on the farm, those little, red potatoes are ready! When I saw the clear bowl of those round and fresh tubers, surrounded by a milky, buttery sauce, I was much more joyous than when I heard the world news. What about you?

Which floats your boat higher? The fussing and in-fighting around Washington or a covered-dish gathering of the faithful? Even good news in our nation’s capitol is soon followed by more questions than Carter had liver pills. By the way, can one still get any Carter’s Liver Pills?

I’m not suggesting that a bowl of freshly dug potatoes par-boiled and seasoned by a wonderful, southern cook is more important than the killing of the world’s most famous fugitive, but I’m pretty close to saying that. Sometimes the talking heads on television and the politicians in Washington forget what America is all about.

I’m thinking about the sweet corn field just behind our church. I’ve had my envious eyes upon those green and growing stalks for a few weeks now. A smattering of tasseling began a few weeks ago and now the entire field is topped by the golden heads. And underneath, the ears have appeared and the silks have turned almost brown.

You know what that means? It means that a good, roasting ear can be pulled, boiled and eaten. Yellow, crooked neck squash and green beans are maturing. Guess what? I don’t think we owe any part of all that goodness to our Washington representatives and senators, bless their little hearts.

No, it took farmers and gardeners and hard work to plant all these vegetables that are now coming to fruition. Or should that be “vegeition?” Plus, it takes a certain amount of simplicity and a gifted, common touch to make them all taste good. I’m sure, without a doubt, that I am prejudiced, but for my last meal, may it be prepared by a southern cook and, as backward as it may sound, let that cook be a momma.

I needed that bowl of new potatoes to bring me back to reality. I read a lot of opinions in national newspapers and watch too much news on television. It is interesting to me, but it also causes me to worry about what’s going on.

It’s good to see that the fields are still being plowed no matter what occurs in Washington, New York, or even the battlefields of the world. There is a kind of normalcy in the harrowing and the planting that settles my mind and helps me to remember that life goes on.

I enjoy riding the roads and seeing the pivots watering the corn. I look forward to hearing that friend say “We’ll begin gathering the corn Wednesday. Just pull into the field and get you a mess.” Or, as another one said, “Looks like we’ll have some tomatoes in a week or two.”

It won’t be long until the peas are shining on the top of the plants and the watermelons will be guaranteed sweet and firm, just like I like them. The temperature is getting a little too high and gnats are starting to come back home. I guess there are a few flies in the ointment, but, overall, this time of the year is good.

South Georgia seems to be chugging right along, praise the Lord. We’ve got a lot to be thankful for this year. To our west, in Alabama and other states, and to our north, in our own state and Tennessee, there is tremendous pain from the tornadoes.

In the Midwest, there is the mighty Mississippi reminding us just how mighty it is. The drought in Texas threatens to burn up the whole state. California is broke. So are New York and many other states. Washington, as mentioned, is just as dysfunctional as ever.

Sometimes, I think about all the places I’ve been and all the things I’ve experienced. I’m not like Hank Snow, “I’ve not been everywhere,” but I’ve been around the block a time or two. This may sound jingoistic, but I am comfortable and satisfied in this place. As Lewis Grizzard said, although he did not create the quote, I feel “American by birth; Southern by the Grace of God.”

Finally, it’s not just southern as in below the Mason-Dixon Line, but let me make the point even finer. It’s southern below the Macon, Georgia line and, if you would like, I could even bring it closer to home than that.

It’s amazing how humble and happy one, little bowl of potatoes can make one. It borders on the miraculous!