Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pickin' Peas (it sounds more fun if you say it like that)

Earlier in the week, we met some friends at Gnismer Farms in Arlington to pick some peas. I hadn’t picked peas in years, but it was something I wanted the children to experience and fresh peas sounded yummy to me. (I also thought it sounded like a grown up thing to do.) As the lady showed us which peas were where, the rows looked familiar and the pods even more so. Out of nowhere, important information flooded in from my memory banks of shelling peas in Soperton. I remembered that the biggest pods were the easiest to shell and even easier if there was a little air in them. I had trouble communicating this to Julia and Brighton for their goal was not finding a certain kind of pod, but to find any pod to fill up our enormous basket. My worst fear was to pick more than I/we (??) could shell in a day or two. They envisioned an overflowing basket and I envisioned green thumbnails for days. Since creamer peas (the tiny green ones) are my favorite and actually, the trickiest to shell, I picked those while the kids picked the purple hull and black eyed peas. Thankfully, after about an hour, my friend and I noticed a game of sorts had broken out among them and the baskets were at a perfect stopping level. We paid for our bounty, discussed our seasonings for the peas and then anticipated an afternoon of shelling peas.

I was shocked by their enthusiasm regarding shelling the peas. Once we got started, no one wanted to stop until every pod was emptied! I completely enjoyed myself. I have no idea why. I don’t know if it was their excitement, the below 80 degree morning, how shelling peas lengthened Brighton’s reading attention span, or the memories that the “green” smell brought to mind. We didn’t shell peas every year I lived at home, but we did it enough for that smell on my hands to cause me to picture my Mom, maybe one of my grandmothers and me sitting in our sunroom with bowls in our laps and a big bag of pods in the middle of the floor. I had done it often enough that I remembered to store the raw peas in a bowl of water until I was ready to cook them which then reminded me of how I used to love to stick my hands in the water and swirl my fingers around the little peas. My Mom’s bowl or pot was much bigger, but mine was just as fun.

The kids were anxious to try the peas they had picked and shelled so we cooked two kinds of peas for dinner. As the creamers and black eyed peas simmered that afternoon, I took in the familiar smell. My house smelled like Momma’s house. I’d pick peas again for that.


Alyssa said...

Ever since you mentioned this last week, my mind has often drifted back to shelling peas with Granny and Pa-Pa. The peaceful, repetitive task allows for easy conversation (or teaching), doesn't it? Glad that you made some new pea pickin' memories to add to your other sweet ones.

Shannon said...

We had a blast pea pickin' with you guys! It didn't bring back any childhood memories for me (it was my first time!) but hopefully made some for my girls.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad y'all got to do this. I had no idea you had fond memories of shelling peas. Do you remember that Dr. McNair gave us a row in his garden and we tried to pick it after work some days? The row was so long that we never got all the way out it the whole growing season. The next year, he had them picked and brought them to us. His garden looked kind of "snaky." I liked the picked ones better.

So glad the children enjoyed the experience. You remember sitting in the sunroom shelling with Grandmother and me. I remember sitting under the pecan tree in MY grandmother's back yard with Mother, my grandmother, and numberous aunts and cousins to shell. Good memories! I'm glad you have some, too! Mom