When we were kids, my siblings and I spent quite a bit of time camping and/or spending time in the homes of friends to our parents. Some homes were not kid-friendly. I can’t be the only one who remembers the dread of hearing we were about to spend four days at Agnes and Delbert’s house. We kids were expected to Find Something To Do. And that did not mean retreiving ducks from any nearby rivers. And that did not mean flinging cowpies at each other. Further, it should not need to be said: Leave The Bull In That Far Pasture Alone.
So what to do? If we couldn’t talk one brother into seeing if he could ride the cow with horns, maybe we could have a rotten apple fight? Maybe there’d be some records we could fling out over a cliff and toss well-aimed rocks at? (I write this knowing how unlikely my parents will read this and so they continue to not understand how the Jimmy Rodgers albums disappeared) (Note to Mom’s best friend (whose company we always enjoyed): if you are reading this, mum is the word.)
But what does this have to do with bean kitchens and cans of corn? We learned to enjoy reading. If we didn’t have library books with us on these trips, and if there were no cowpies to fling and if the folks still had rules against riling up the bulls, we would read whatever. Phone books, maps, recipe card files. Church bulletins. The back of a box of cereal.
It’s kinda interesting, actually, how curiosity stays with you. It needs to be fed. I was reminded of this the other night when I was fixing dinner. I had inherited some pantry goods when my daughter moved out of her apartment and found two cans of corn in my pantry that can’t be bought here. So yep, I read the label. Since then, I’ve googled Max and learned about his time in Seattle and in Colorado, but my research regarding bean kitchens is slow-go. What the heck was a bean kitchen? And: where are the bean kitchens of today?
Imagination is what gets you through what-have-you-not. Does imagination begat curiosity or vice versa? And when do the cowpie gernades enter the picture?
Confessions of Bazookagirl
I was in the army when I was nine. I knew how
to sink landmines of manure with grenades
that grew like rocks dug up from the gardens.
We commandeered a solder wheel from the enemy
across the field so I could belly-crawl in flower beds,
weaving walkie-talkie wire through the hedges,
linking my bean-green radio to the tomato-red
headset General Mike wore to lead our troops
until one day Das Kommandant caught on, tackling
our weakest flank and chained Buster to a post,
before capturing us in the ammo shed
where we had stopped to share a smoke.
Never let him see you cry, was our battle pledge
as we were handcuffed and marched back
to prison camp, stripped of all our stripes.