And now we enter the portion of summer I like to call: Corn Fest 2000. And, yes, dear readers, I know we're midway through two-thousand and nine-but in Corn Fest-ese, "2000" signifies not the year of Fest, but of the said fest's awesomeness and power, as in, this Fest and the corn we're feting is two thousand times better than anyone else's corn on the block, county, perhaps the entire tristate area. And, in case you wondered, no I don't know which states comprise the "tri", but it's something I've longed to say for a while now, in a weather-girl sort of way, shivering in my Burberry trench and Wellies as gale-force winds highlight the depths of my journalistic excellence. And to think-Corn Fest 2000 allowed me to reach that goal, from my parents' basement, wearing pajama pants and a Chinese New Year tee shirt.
As I was saying, we got about 17 ears this morning, after tentatively creeping into the stalks to check the progress of our crop, which as of late had developed a bit of a reputation in the raccoon community for being, well, some kick-ass corn. In effort to keep the critters at bay, we rigged a radio from one of the greenhouses on a really long extension cord, then set the thing on a piece of plywood smack in the middle of Cornville and put a bucket over top. For a few nights we'd trek the few miles out there to turn it on just as the sun went down, and let me tell you the first time I did that I about had a heart attack. The sky was absolutely on fire red-a triple threat of orange and pink, with purple gray clouds low enough, almost, to touch. I was alone, a speck in all that beauty, which in country music and greeting cards is supposed to make you feel really spiritually elevated, but in my mind's eye, all I could see was dead baseball players. A few nights prior, we'd all sat around watching Field of Dreams on TV and I felt 97% certain that night I'd catch Shoeless Joe Jackson peering at me through the tassles and be rendered petrified right there in the corn. The way I handled this, of course, was to scamper lightly in and out of the rows, adhering to the "if your feet barely touch the ground you aren't really there" school of thought, flipping the switch then lickety-splitting it back to the car before Moonlight Graham could beckon me with a bony ghost finger. Since then, we've simplified our technique, which is to say we've stopped turning it off in the morning, mostly out of laziness-however, it seems to be working. I turned the dial to all-conservative-all-the-time talk radio because I thought this would cause the most emotional distress for the raccoons; they are absolutely renowned in the animal kingdom for their radical views on health care and nasty MSNBC habit. I'm sure there were a number of hearts in raccoon's throats when, instead of all-you-can-eat Ambrosia BiColor, Ranger Rick and the gang discovered Rush Limbaugh screeching from underneath a bucket.
But-the corn. It was magnificent. There will be more, but we chose the fullest ears for our dinner tonight, building our meal around them, so that, in fact, BLT sandwiches were a side item to the corn. I'll add here that both the T and the L also came from our garden, and were delicious. I had one ear, and one member of my family had five, but I've promised to protect his/her identity, as eating five ears of corn like it's your job has a tendency to lower one's standing in the community, as does going barefoot. Suffice it to say that everyone enjoyed the bounty, whether employing the typewriter approach, or the around the world/cob method-they devoured it. The phrase "coming up for air" seems appropriate, as well as references to Nathan's Coney Island Hot Dog-Eating contest. But delicious though it was, for most of the meal I had a sideline-feeling, maybe because my sweet husband wasn't there by my side to enjoy the harvest-to feast on the fruits of our new adventure and meet my eyes romantically over a half-eaten, buttery ear of corn: a salty summer valentine. I'll save some for you....xo