Thinkin' Back

Thinkin' Back

Picking Beans

There’s just something wonderful about having fresh food that you have taken the care to prepare yourself.

Growing up we always had bean parties, well at least that’s what I called them. A few church ladies would come over in their bean party best for a day of picking and breaking up fresh green beans. We would pick five gallon buckets full of beans until there were several buckets full. I always got the task of taking out the full buckets and bringing back empty ones. What wasn’t an assigned task of mine was playing with the grasshoppers and garden snakes and surprising all of the ladies with them. My grandmother would just shake her head every time, but my grandfather would always laugh hysterically and pat my head as if saying “well done” when she would tell him about all I had done.

After all of the beans had been picked, I would set chairs up in a circle while my grandmother and the ladies would prepare a quick bite to eat, usually a pimento cheese or egg salad sandwich, and some cold glasses of sweet tea. After we would eat we would get to my favorite part, which is breaking up the beans. Even to this day when I sit and break up beans, I smile because it’s still my favorite part.

If you ever thought that women in a beauty shop get to talkin’, then you’ve never sat with a group of ladies breaking up beans. I learned a lot from sitting there breaking up bean after bean. I learned about first loves, first heartbreaks, some of the best recipes in the world, proper housekeeping, how to keep your husband happy, what mischief teenagers could get into, and unknowingly at the time, how to have real conversations and how to listen to someone.

That’s something that people seem to be doing less and less of in the world. People want to talk and be heard, but they never seem to want to stop and actually listen. I have no doubt that a lot of problems in the world could be made better, if not solved, by sitting down and having a real conversation…which includes listening.

I now have my own bean parties, and invite others over to join in the fun. Even if I have to go to the local farmer’s market to get enough beans to be worked. We’ll break up countless beans and prepare them for canning, freezing, and cooking.

Not only have I spent time with loved ones, but we will have the benefit of fresh green beans for the upcoming months.

Even as I type this up, I have a pot of fresh green beans on the stove cooking with some country ham pieces. Can you guess how yummy my house is smellin?

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