Shucking Corn

It's going to be a long summer for Kim and me.

Kim usually takes more time off of work and hangs out with the girls. They spend a lot of time at the swimming pool. They water the flowers together. She watches them while they bicycle up and down our street. She spends a lot of time with the girls but summer is extra special.

And then there are the activities you don't remember until you are doing them. Simple things. Stupid things.

After Maggie's soccer practice the other night we headed over to Heinen's to pick up some groceries.

"Do you want corn?" I asked.

"Can we shuck it here?" Maggie asked back.


Maggie looked at the posted price and said "I'll do three and you can do three."

And then I was overwhelmed with sadness. I've been shopping with one child or the other many times but I also remember so many times that the three of us stopped to shuck some corn to take home. "It's kind of sad," I said while we felt around in the bin of corn to choose the three we each wanted. "Usually you and Elena would shuck the corn."

"Sort of," Maggie said. "Elena would peel it down but you'd always have to break it off."


"And you'd sometimes have to help me get started."

Something as stupid as picking and peeling corn and I've got tears welling up. I loved shopping with my girls. I remember once when I was shopping with Elena I stood next to her while she picked out three lemons for a recipe we were making. A woman watched her, looked at me, and then looked back at Elena.

"You're doing a very good job honey," the woman said. "You're mom must have taught you well."

I was a little put out by this. I'm standing next to my daughter coaching her in how to pick fruit and vegetables and this stranger assumes her mom taught her well. I didn't say anything. I didn't need to. Elena spoke up.

"No," Elena said. "It was my dad. With lemons you want the heavier ones. I'm comparing."

The woman was not done yet. "Well maybe you can show your dad the cherries. They look very good."

"I don't think so," said Elena politely.

"Why not?" the woman asked.

"They're not in season. My dad doesn't like us to buy them when they're not in season. They'll be much cheaper in a week or two and they'll taste better."

The woman smiled and moved on. I beamed.

I didn't always hold the line on season. Sometimes, like on Memorial Day weekend, you just have to get corn and watermelon. So there we were Friday picking through corn though it's way before the season hits here in northern Ohio. Looking for the heavy ones because that tends to work with corn the way it does with lemons. Pulling the husks off and trading memories.

Published in: on May 28, 2006 at 8:16 am  Comments (4)