Thursday, July 26, 2012

Just Peachy

I will preface this blog with the fact that I am a fanatic about good peaches. Ever since I was a little girl and Mac McKee, an old Marine buddy of Daddy’s, would show up every summer with a large basket of absolutely perfect and delectable Chilton County (Alabama, of course.) peaches, I’ve lived for that moment, usually in July, when the peaches are freestone and perfect.

When we moved to Tennessee, it took me a while to find farmer’s markets, and I really didn’t have much time for the quest for peaches, but one fine day in mid –summer, about 1973, I glanced at a nearby truck rolling down Summer Avenue and realized that it had Alabama tags and the familiar wooden wicker baskets that I associated with perfect peaches filled the truck bed. I chased that truck down and talked him into selling me a basket…it was $12…highway robbery indeed.

On our visits to Montgomery, when we drove, which wasn’t too often, we always stopped at Peach Park for homemade peach pies and peach ice cream and a basket of peaches. Once when I was under the weather, Walker drove by there on his way home from a Montgomery cousin’s dove shoot and brought me some peach ice cream in a cooler alongside his doves. This was one of the most thoughtful gifts he’s brought me through the years and one I clearly remember.

Fast forward to last week. We were having company for the weekend, and I planned to make a peach dessert to go with our summery menu. Peaches at our local farmer’s market, while not quite up to my Alabama standards, were really nice… just mostly a bit under ripe. I sifted through the piles and finally found six or so ripe enough to use in the next couple of days. I put those in one bag, and picked out eight or so more to leave out to ripen over the weekend. When I got home, I discovered that the ripened bag was not with my purchases. I was annoyed that I couldn’t find the receipt to prove I had bought the peaches,so I got up early Friday morning and drove out to the Agricenter again, purchasing a half dozen or so perfectly ripened peaches.

We then left for the lake with our visitors, leaving the previously mentioned too green peaches on the counter, expecting them to be just perfect by Monday when I returned. I planned to slice and freeze some and eat the others sliced with a tiny scoop of ice cream after dinner as had been our custom during peach season.

Well, this batch of peaches disappeared also.

Was I losing my mind? The first batch that disappeared could have been left in a grocery cart other than my own, so that didn’t bug me too much, but twice in one week to lose a whole bunch of peaches?

Since Walker III had been home all weekend, I entertained the idea that maybe he had put them somewhere. Not too many places to hide a bag of peaches at our house, though, and it was impossible to imagine him eating one, much less eight of them. When he came down for dinner last night his dad asked him if he knew what happened to the peaches.

“Oh yeah…John forgot his so he had to borrow them.”

Mystery solved; my errant son in law, John, and my sweet daughter, Katie, had come over to swim and cook dinner for themselves and Walker. John is a really good cook, especially when he steals one of my five ingredients or less recipes like the one for Peach Cobbler and my peaches. (This one is really more of a peach dump, but delicious...recipe in a previous post )

I called John and he confessed that he had not borrowed my peaches, but stolen them as a favor to me so they wouldn’t rot before we got home.

Thanks, John. I’m going to the Agricenter this morning, and if they still have nice peaches, you’re forgiven.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A True Patriot

Walker decided to ride with me in the car rather than with his dad and the dog in the truck on our weekend trip to Moon Lake. After a few minutes in the car, he asked if I had my i-Pod. When I said I didn’t, he reached back into his ever-present back pack and pulled out a CD featuring The Beach Boys greatest hits and popped it into the CD player. I turned the volume up and he and I sang along almost all the way to the lake. I realized that of all my children, Walker is the one who doesn’t roll his eyes when I belt out a song and miss some words or sing off-key, probably because he’s doing the same thing.

The weekend at the lake was tranquil, filled with blasting heat, skiing and tubing, homemade ice cream, Corky’s Barbeque and hamburgers and hotdogs.

When it was time to go home, Walker again chose to ride with me…which was a little unusual, because he is usually careful not to offend and chooses to ride with one parent to the lake and the other to come home. But I was leaving first, and he was anxious to get home to do his ritual Sunday night chores…taking the garbage to the street and doing his laundry…so off we went.

After a few minutes on the road Walker pulled out two pins to show me. “You know when I go to work on Wednesday, the 4th of July…I’m going to wear both pins.” He has one that has his picture and says “Born in the USA” and another with a flag that says “God Bless America”.

“Do they let you wear those pins at work?” I asked.

“It’s a free country, isn’t it?” he answered, seeming a little puzzled that anyone might disallow his patriotism.

“Well, I suppose, but your boss might not like it, and if he doesn’t, you’d have to obey him at work.

Walker shrugged and I gave it a rest, assuming his tribute to the country’s birthday wouldn’t be a problem.

A few minutes later, he pulled another CD out of the back pack, Lee Greenwood’s, “American Patriot”. As we rode along, I realized that Lee had been just as instrumental in building Walker’s fervent patriotism as any high school civics class. I listened to Walker recite the “Pledge of Allegiance” and belt out all the patriotic songs along with Lee as we drove along through the Land of Cotton, and I was so glad he had shared this moving tribute to our country with me. Hearing “This Land is Your Land”, “God Bless America”, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”, “America the Beautiful” and “The Star Spangled Banner” made the time and miles melt away in the blistering heat, and I came home refreshed and revived.

God Bless America, and God bless Walker, a true patriot.