I remember sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen. Even though she lived in town she still longed to have a garden. They had a very small yard but the back had a wire fence. One time grandpa planted green beans next to the fence so they could climb it.
My friend Katie and my cousin Ellen and I were playing at grandma’s house one warm summer afternoon. Grandma asked us to sit around the big table on her back porch. On the table were two huge bowls. One bowl was full of long green beans. The other bowl was empty.
Grandma said it was time for us to “snap the crop.” She taught us to measure the green beans against our thumbs and snap them into pieces. If I close my eyes I can still see her holding Katie’s hands, then Ellen’s, and then mine. How gently she snapped those beans as if they were precious. I remember her saying, “You snap them across the vein or they will just bend. If you do it just right you will hear the bean snap!” Grandma was smart like that. I suppose all grandmas are.
We girls were pretty smart too. We’d been outside playing earlier and seen the short droopy little bean plants climbing on the fence. The beans we were snapping were huge. There was no way they’d grown in the backyard.
Grandma had gone into the other room with grandpa for a few minutes. Ellen went to the kitchen for some water. She motioned for us to follow. She pointed to the counter top. There sat a big brown grocery bag from the “Better Way” market containing still more green beans.
The mystery of how those huge beans could grow on such puny plants was solved. They hadn’t! We didn’t let on we knew the secret. We spent the rest of the afternoon laughing, having fun, and snapping those beans!
I was at the grocery store earlier this particular morning. While going down the vegetable isle Adam spotted the green beans! I tried to encourage the kids to try new things so when he wanted to get some I did.When we got home I put the three kids and a big bowl of green beans in the back yard. They had fun. I told them to snap them across the vein or they’d just bend. I told them if they did it right they would hear a “snap!”
I went inside. Through the kitchen I could hear the kids laughing. Once in a while one of them would yell out, “I heard that. That one snapped. Did you hear it?”
I remember my eyes smarting as I listened to them. It didn’t seem so long ago I had been sitting on that old porch doing the same thing with my grandma. Now I was doing it with my kids. I felt as if grandma was right there beside me. Heidi, Robin, and Adam did a great job. They were proud of their success.
Those green beans may not have totally disappeared from their plates at the dinner table that night but I know everyone at least tasted them while they told their dad how they’d help prepare them.