Month of May: Two Kinds of Tassels

Published 9:00 am Monday, May 17, 2021

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Country singer Alan Jackson had a song in 1990 by the name of Chasin’ that Neon Rainbow. It fell short of Number One by one slot, however, in my honest and accurate opinion, it was worthy of a top hit. The song was about Jackson’s journey in the country music business and how it led him to play many honky-tonks.

The reason I mention it today is that it has a memorable line that goes like this: “Lordy, don’t the wheels turn slow,” meaning there is no such thing as an overnight success.

Well, the wheels of life might turn slow, but that’s not the case with the months of our years. They fly by and it’s surprising that we wake up this morning and the month of May is almost one-half over.

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The month of May. Here in this county that means there are two kinds of tasseling going on. What do I mean? Soon our Class of 2021 will be wearing a square-looking cap with a tassel on the side. They’ll switch it from one side to the other and it’s on to another chapter of their lives which, by the way, don’t roll too slow either. Just ask the mother who sees her little baby graduating from high school, “How quick did that take?”

I said two kinds of tasseling. The other is that top part of the corn stalk that is just beginning to peek out. Remember what the Bible says, “The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.” That’s Mark 4:28 in the plain English paraphrase.

About the only thing I would say about that assessment is that the earth might would produce “all by itself,” but our great farmers help it along by planting the seed.

As I ride the roads, I pass by many fields of corn. Some are planted as early as mid-February and, with the soil still cool, it takes a little time for that February corn to get started. But by the time March and April bring the springtime warmth, the corn turns to that dark green color and it really takes off!

I look for the tassels to appear. A man, who knows about these things, told me that once you see the tassels, it takes about three weeks for the ear to be mature enough to eat. I’ve been counting the weeks and days and the 2021 edition of boiling sweet corn is very nigh. My butter is on the kitchen counter softening. The salt and pepper shakers are right by the butter, and, as the Andrae Crouch song goes, “Soon and very soon.”

The month of May brings more than just two kinds of tassels. Our piano player at Sutton Chapel, Walter Goodman, is quite the gardener. He didn’t have the time when Del and he were operating the West Bainbridge grocery, Dixie Dandy, but daughter Carla, has taken over that chore, leaving Walter time for the enjoyment of an old-fashioned garden.

He might not know it, but I’ve been casting my envious eyes that way. At church Sunday, he told me the good news that his Sunday Mother’s Day lunch would include new potatoes, freshly grown green beans, as well as tender and delicious yellow, crooked-neck squash. Count me impressed!

My Aunt Martha brought me some red-skinned new potatoes that she had dug at Long’s Produce and that market will be going full-speed soon.

All of these goodies and the in-person graduation of our Class of 2021 almost makes things feel normal again. Those wheels have turned slow, but as least they’re turning. Thanks be to God.