Mom would have been so proud!
It all started Saturday morning at the fabulous downtown Monroe Farmer’s Market, located every Tuesday evening and Saturday morning near the corner of N. Monroe and E. Willow Street.
Renee and I had only recently returned from our “winter and spring from hell” (more on that later) for a short while when we heard longtime friend David Manning was singing there that morning so we went .
We unloaded my wheelchair and started our visit. The place was packed and we quickly ran into old friends we hadn’t seen in ages. It was also immediately apparent that the rapid planned round trip was not going to happen.
“Uh, can we get some help here?” I joked at the first booth where our good friend (and one of Renee’s former hairdressers in the salon she ran for 25 years), Darlene Parran, was scrambling to keep up with customer demand.
Worried, she turned to see who was complaining; when she saw it was me, she showed her beautiful smile and came to greet us.
“These ears are huge!” Renée exclaimed.
“This is how we grow them in Ida,” said Darlene as she filled a bag with a dozen “roast ears” as my father called them.
We continued walking, slowly circling the old building that first housed the market in the early 1930s. We said goodbye to market manager Denice Lewis who sold her delicious breads and baked goods.
David’s music filled the air and gave the market a festive atmosphere; we made sure to help fill the jar with hints of him.
I stocked up on the red popcorn I love (and it seems I can only find them there) and when we got to the always amazing assortment of flowers, herbs and spices I was thrilled to find basil, rosemary, thyme, mint and sage still in place. layout. (This, however, was mitigated by the news that our friend who sold the flowers, Pat Gretzler, had died in February.)
We normally return from Florida in May and then I will plant my herbs and spices, but this year I was hampered by an infected knee prosthesis that needed to be replaced. After that successful operation, an infectious doctor prescribed antibiotics so powerful they triggered the neurological disorder that took my legs away and put me in a wheelchair 10 years ago.
It was nice to see Ida’s Bill Stotz again, a regular at the market, and his beautiful wife, Delores; I bought their fresh peppers and got a loaf of freshly baked bread from another regular customer, David Charlesworth.
We had so much fun visiting the market and had to make multiple trips on the van to unload the bags we had purchased.
Yesterday those giant ears of corn by Darlene Parran were calling me, so I shelled and sifted eight of them before I cut the cobs, just as Mom had taught me a long time ago.
Then I started scraping the cob with the knife, just like my mom had taught me, letting the creamy “milk” of the corn run down the cob and into the pan.
I heated bacon oil and butter in a pan – just like mom taught me – then piled the corn in the pan and cured my mixture for 15 minutes, occasionally scooping a spoon into my mouth to test. the flavor and cooking.
I sliced tomatoes from Gwen Hehl’s garden and Renee and I sat down for a fine meal like I’ve eaten for ages.
“Your mom would be so proud,” Renee assured me tenderly.
My eyes watered as I reflected in that moment of the love I still have in my heart for my sweet mother and all the wonderful things she taught me in our short time together, including how to make cut southern fried sweet corn. the corn on the cob.
“Don’t forget,” he said. “Bacon fat is the key.”
I haven’t forgotten, and my corn was wonderful. How come? Because mothers are always right.
But what do I know.
Tom Treece is a musician and a native of Monroe. Contact him at [email protected].