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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Ballad of a Week of Beans

When I was growing up in Higbee, Colorado: both Mom and Dad worked.  Not only did they work, but there was about an hour drive when they got off, so sometimes it was six or seven o’clock when they got home at night.  During this time, one of us kids’ chores was to cook supper (don’t tell my wife, I have convinced her that I cannot cook!).  Usually the extent of our cooking was pork chops or sloppy joe’s and cakes.  The cakes were my thing, because I do like cake!  The one time we went beyond our expertise, we had to have directions.

Dad relayed Mom’s instructions, which was to cook beans and cornbread. (Duh how hard could this have been, it was beans and cornbread) This was supposed to be for a Monday night, so Dad helped us out on Sunday.  The cornbread we could cook on Monday after noon, so that was no problem (I bake cakes ya know).  We kids did not know how many beans to add, Mom’s instructions were to barely cover the bottom of the pan.  Of course, with Dad helping we didn’t pay any attention to those instructions! 

As soon as Dad saw how little was in the pan, he said “that’s not enough!”   SO…we filled the pot about ¾ of the way full...  Now this wasn’t no little pot, this was a deep 2 ½ to 3 gallon soup pot.  I guess we didn’t know that beans swell.  We put them on to cook and headed into our Sunday night game of spades (lots of cards back then, we only had one TV station and reception was spotty).  Periodically one of use  would go check the beans.  Once those things started to cook, they started to come out of the pot! 

Doggone, they were everywhere.  We started dipping them out and putting them into smaller pots.  Picture pots and pans scattered out in a house with a really leaky roof.  Now picture those pans full of beans!  To a 4th grader, that was a lot of dad gum beans.  I guess looking back, this part was funny!

The unfunny part is that Dad was not going to waste any!  So we had beans EVERY night for almost a week.  Beans and cornbread, cornbread and beans…..ugh!   By Thursday, there was a lot of whining about eating beans again.  I am proud to say that I was right there with the whining, I was so sick of beans! 

Now you wouldn’t think that two little 4th / 5th grade boys could come up with any devious plans, but we had a solution.  Cully and I washed dishes every night, so on Thursday night after supper….. We waited until everyone had left the kitchen….and took the “dishwater” outside to dump.  We didn’t just dump it outside the door, as was our normal practice.  We did what we were always supposed to do and carried it long ways from the house.  Friday night, we had sloppy joe’s!  

Ya’ know, I still don’t know what happened to the rest of those beans and it has taken me nearly 20 years to like them again!

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