Monday, May 11, 2009

Memory Lane Monday

If you think this sounds familiar, it’s because I told this story on the old blog. But it’s worth repeating a good reminder and cherished memory.

In one of my recent posts, I mentioned Ohio Sweet Corn and how we would not be here this year to eat it once it comes into season. I will miss that time of year, the time of fairs and farms and a special ending to the summer: sweet corn season. Corn grown in Ohio is so very tender, a little sweet; boiled and eaten slathered in butter and salt, it just melts in your mouth. It is a small taste of Heaven. I’ve eaten corn in regions all over the world, and with no disrespect toward the rest of the world (because every region has its specialty); Ohio Sweet Corn is the best, hands down! I’m not biased, it’s just a fact.

Talking about sweet corn reminded me of when I first introduced Chuck and the boys to this Ohio specialty. It was the summer of ’04, and we had just returned to the States after a four year tour in Turkey. We had just gotten stationed in NC, still living in lodging and decided to come up so that they could meet some of the extended family.

We were having dinner at my cousin’s house. It was the first time some of us had seen each other in 12 or more years. We had kids of our own now, watching them play together as we did when we were young. It was fun to see them, but it was more fun to see how much my mom and my Aunt Cheryl enjoy watching them. (That IS a grandma’s right to receive joy from the grandchildren: all the fun, and give them back when they start acting up!)

We were having a bbq, and with bbq in Ohio, it is imperative that there is Ohio Sweet Corn. I don’t remember specifically what else we ate that day, though it was all good, but I do remember the warm juices of the kernels melting in my mouth (and probably down my chin) as I took that first bite of Ohio Sweet Corn for the first time in over a decade. I know I ate my share that day.

But I wasn’t the only one enjoying the corn from above, Jaden (who wasn’t four at the time)had chewed his way through two ears of corn, clean (better than many adults) and was asking for more. Being the “responsible” parent, I told him he had to “make a happy plate” by finishing his hot dog and chips. Aunt Cheryl looked at Jaden proudly and asked, “You like that stuff buddy? It’s good corn isn’t it?” Then she looked at me, smiled and said, “You know, it’s just a hot dog and chips…you can always eat hot dogs and chips. But how often does he get Ohio Sweet Corn? Let him eat corn!”

She had a point. Jaden ate tons of corn on the cob that day. But I think an even bigger lesson was that I realized that sometimes, it is ok to bend the rules, to make exceptions. The world doesn’t end, and everyone is happy. While planning and routines are important, sometimes just being in the moment, ENJOYING the moment, is when the memories are made. She didn’t realize it at the time, but a memory that Jaden and I both cherish is that day with Aunt Cheryl and the Ohio Sweet Corn. This moment was an example of how she lived her life: with love, and acceptance and enjoying the moment. Aunt Cheryl died from cancer almost two years ago this month. But her lessons live on through all of us.


munchesmom said...

What a beautiful memory - of the corn & your aunt! I agree, Ohio sweet corn is the best. We are blessed to have a local family's farm market less than a mile from our house & they have the best sweet corn. (I still have some in the freezer from last fall.) My munchkins love to sit on our porch & shuck it. And, my picky eater, who doesn't like veggies, will only eat corn straight from the cob. Thank you for sharing this post.