Friday, July 22, 2011

Corn: In Memoriam

Let me tell you a little bit about corn ...

Especially my heart ... and my stomach.

First off, Nathan's dad is the head HR honcho at a corn plant in Iowa, which means that as far as corn royalty goes, I'm pretty much a duchess. Like Catherine. (Sidenote: Is it un-American of me to love William and Kate? Sigh.)

A memory of corn ...

I had just completed kindergarten when it happened. When some miscreants cornnapped my beloved little plant.

My family was living in an apartment then, waiting for our house on NE 36th Street to be built. It was a first-floor apartment, and the back porch faced an unfenced grassy area (the same area where I stepped barefoot into a pile of dog poop ... I shall never forget that sensation ... shudder), bordered by a road with a vacant lot on the other side. The porch was therefore difficult to defend against thieves.

But I was six, and I wanted my little plant to have the sun it needed and deserved, so onto the porch it went, seemingly safely nestled in it's little blue plastic pot. I gave little thought to the fact that just one corn plant won't produce much. There's that PG-13 fertilization that has to go on ... but I was naive to both the intricacies of plant reproduction and the cruelty of man, so my corn was celibate and defenseless.

It looked like this. The pot, not the corn.

Corn was my favorite food at the time. On the cob, frozen, from the can, as an additive of some form or another in any processed food--I loved it all. So I planted a withered kernel into the black soil, anxious for the magical rising of the perfectly green spear that was my corn seedling. When I say "perfectly green," I mean the color green that means life. The freshest green. The cleanest, most delicious green. That green would grow something yellow, yellow and sweet ... corn. (I am so mad that some gross metal band stole this innocent little vegetable's phonetics.)

And I'm pretty sure I was growing my little corn plant organically, thank you. My dad may have slipped some chemical fertilizer into the soil, the capitalist!

My cornbaby was nearing a foot in height when our family went away to Utah to celebrate the 4th of July with my cousins and grandparents. I remember the trip because my great grandmother died on Independence Day while mowing the lawn in preparation for the family party. Was I graceful about our planned trip to Lagoon being replaced by her funeral? Probably not. I remember being really bummed about it, but I think I had enough social awareness not to whine too much about missing out on The Samurai. And then at the funeral my mom suggested I touch my grandma's hand ... her dead hand. And I did, and I was simultaneously creeped out and proud of myself for having touched my first (and last) dead person.

Back to the story of the loss I felt a bit more keenly (a testament to my horrible priorities as a six-year-old. What can I say? I loved corn).

Short story short, I came home to find my corn plant gone. Pot, gone. Dirt, gone. Cornbaby, gone. Dreams, gone.

I cried, and my dad blamed teenagers for the theft. That was probably when I started hating teenagers.

My bro-in-law Louis put a link on his Facebook today to an article on how employers may do "background checks" on your internet history. That makes me worry about writing things about hating teenagers. What if I want to be a high school bus driver one day and my potential boss finds out that I will hate my passengers? There goes that dream.


  1. Thanks for allowing a glimpse into the complex chasms of your heart.

    HOWEVER-- I know this story to be categorically FALSE. Well, just one sentence. How could you, as a six-year-old, have been disappointed about The Samurai, when I, as a 13-year-old, rode it during its debut summer?

    Only one logical explanation: you own a time-turner.

  2. You've caught me. Remember the sky coaster? I haaaaaate you! Haha.

  3. I thought about driving a school bus for about 5 minutes, then realized that we would never get to school because I wouldn't allow swearing and we would just sit there until everyone stopped.


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