In the summer around dinner time my Dad would ask me to go out to the west side of the house and pick some corn for dinner. It was great to have fresh corn, but of course there were other issues of interest on my mind. To pick corn you have to squeeze through a narrow row of tall corn stalks. The leaves are kind of scratchy and they make you itchy if you let them rub on your skin. You pick out a big ear of corn and bend it down and it will snap off with a nice little sound. Then you bring several of them back to the end of the row and husk them by pulling down on the leaves. Hopefully you don’t run into any worms. When you do find a worm they are bright green. You kind of knock them off and look to see if they ate very much of the corn kernels and if they didn’t, it’s a keeper.
The other task was to pick tomatoes. There’s nothing better than a homegrown ripe red tomato. No store-bought tomato can ever compete with it because store-bought tomatoes are a different variety that are grown to be able to withstand shipping. Homegrown tomato varieties are chosen for good taste and tender texture.
At lunchtime, my Dad would put a tomato on a fork and take it over to the gas stove and hold the tomato over the flames until the skin cracked and popped loose. That made the skin easy to slide off. Then he cut the tomato in to pieces and mixed it with lettuce and mayonnaise and he had a nice lunch. Sometimes the best part is the leftover juice which can be soaked up with a piece of bread. That is very good, tasty and delicious.
Sometimes my Dad would let me share his lunch. It was a real honor for me when he did so, because usually it was my mother that did all the cooking and somehow my Dad just didn’t like to cook for anyone other than himself, but if I was around and I asked, he would cook and share his lunch with me.
My dad grew flowers and sold them in our Peters’ Flower Shop on Kearney Blvd, on the west side of Fresno. He also sold Dahlias at wholesale prices to other florists in Fresno. He made beautiful floral arrangements anytime there was an excuse to do so like a party at our house or any other social occasion.
(c) 2014 John A Peters