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Kids in the Corn

June 12, 2013

Back in the early sixties we lived in the country.  We had a slew of cousins living next door and our grandparents’ farm was just down the hill, about a quarter mile away.

My aunt and uncle grew corn in the little strip of land between our yards.  It doubled as a privacy hedge and was a wonderful maze in which a handful of active kids could spend hours playing hide and seek.  We would run up and down the rows, taking care not to damage the cornstalks.  We really had to be careful when we slipped between the plants to avoid being caught.  We knew what would happen if we ruined the corn…and we didn’t want that.  We liked being able to sit without pain.

As a family of Finnish decent, we gathered every Saturday for Sauna Night.  It was as much a social gathering as it was about cleanliness. Grandma always called it ‘bath house’ and she would gather bundles of small birch branches and bind them together with string.  She said you were supposed to slap each other’s backs with them after you sat on the top bench for a time and began to sweat.  That process was supposed to detoxify your body, but it sounded awfully painful to us.   Being kids, the idea of being slapped with branches while we were totally naked didn’t sound like any fun at all. Adults sure had some funny ideas to our way of thinking!

On one such Saturday night, somewhere in the middle of the summer when the corn stalks had grown taller than us kids but before it ripened, we had an idea…

We decided to try the corn to see if it was ready. It began innocently enough, with just one ear; we each took a bite. And it tasted pretty good even if the kernels weren’t quite yellow and it wasn’t very sweet. One thing led to another, and soon we had tried quite a lot of corn from nearly every section of the patch.

I don’t remember how many of us were there that night, but I remember having a lot of fun running hither and yon through the corn, taking a bite from this ear and that…until the gastro-intestinal symptoms began. And when they hit, they hit hard! Nausea, cramping and diarrhea. We turned positively green, moaning and groaning in our misery, thinking we would surely die.

We received little to no sympathy from our parents…in fact they laughed at us! They didn’t have the heart to dole out more punishment, they told us that we would pay a high enough price for our actions and we would soon learn not to eat from the garden before it was ready.

And so we did.


From → Growing Pains

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