The Good Book tells us that there is a season for everything and when you’re a farm kid, this is especially true: Calving Season, Planting Season, Hay Season, Head Catch Season, and one of my personal favorites was “Silage Season” — those handful of weeks when the county roads of every small country town is flooded with junked-up, wired together, multi-colored rusted out dump trucks hauling what seems to be an endless wave of freshly chopped corn.
As fun as spending fall afternoons watching my dad down-shift because the silage hauling truck had little brakes, looking back, the one thing that really made this season special was the fact that afterwards, I’d find myself seated alongside my granny on the front steps of our home, snapping green beans while my mother prepared glass jars for canning.
As a young child, there were few things as fun as reaching into a large box of freshly picked green beans and commence to stripping the ends off and then popping the vegetable into three or four pieces.
For my sister and me, these sessions with Granny would turn into a race to see who could be the first to fill up our pot. She didn’t mind — so long as we’d make sure the quality of our work didn’t fall.
“They’re ah get’n too short, son,” she’d say in her soft southern voice.
“Yes, that’s better.”
Sadly, as I got older, the joy of snapping beans escaped me and I would often do everything possible to get out of this “chore”; however, as a grown man, looking back, I can’t help but recognize those truly were some of my best memories and if I could be teleported to any one place in my life, snapping beans with granny would probably be at the top of my list.
Modern American kids have it tough and folks from my generation are often way too hard on them when it comes to our assessments of their day to day life. Childhood suicides, addiction to rectangular shaped-screens, feelings of being unloved and rejected, as well as having to cope with the stresses of always being connected (even to that bully you would at least get a break from as a kid on weekends and summers) are all very real and are taking a massive toll on American kids.
I’m not so naïve to believe that simply by gathering around a front porch and snapping green beans all of the problems of this generation would be erased; however, I believe it would sure be a heck of a great place to start — as we read more and more heartbreaking accounts of another 11-year-old who took their life, I can’t help but wonder what if we did more of the largely forgotten activities from the days of old, such as snapping beans together on a sunny autumn day? What would happen if there was no mobile device around and as a family we sat together and did a repetitive job such as this? Would our children open up to us a bit more? Would we find ourselves telling stories of our childhood — both our struggles and happiest of memories?
I am a far cry from what I should be as a human and even the more so as a parent, but for the past several years, we have deliberately done just this — even the year we had to buy beans from a roadside vender. What I found is that this activity is one of our children’s most anticipated and appreciated family activity. We laugh, talk and share love more during this event than during any other I can remember.
Though I make my living writing articles online and sharing posts on social media, I cannot possibly thank God enough that I was born prior to the days rectangular-shaped screens conquered society.
Life is short — seize the day… and snap a few more green beans in the process!
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