In 2002 we ran away from Illinois where we were born and raised, and started a new life in SW Florida. This blog is about me (an eccentric old artist), ROM (my Real Old Man), Isabella (our neurotic Standard Poodle) and Emmy (our crazy snake killing Jack Russell Terrier). Oh- and the neighborhood old people. Life is good in Florida!

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Memories of My Crime Family's Summer Heists

No beach for us this past holiday weekend. We always avoid Anna Maria Island on holiday weekends- traffic and parking is a bitch, and the island beaches are always overrun with people. So we hung around the house watching movies and gorging on grilled guacamole burgers, sweet corn and root beer floats.

As I was a cleaning the sweet corn I remembered the corn we ate when I was a kid. I hadn't thought about our strange corn ritual in years and was laughing so hard I could barely speak as I shared the story with ROM the other day. I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I come from a quirky bat shit crazy family.  As strange as the corn story is, it's actually one of the tamer tales from childhood. But I don't want to overwhelm you with the wilder stories, so I'll stick to the corn story today...



Sweet corn was a staple of summer meals for people who lived in the Midwest. There were even sweet corn themed summer festivals and competitions for those who grew it in their gardens. Of course my family couldn't do something as normal as having a summer garden, oh hell no! Instead of growing our own sweet corn or buying it from the grocery store or vegetable stand, we stole ours. Not from a grocery store or anyone's garden. We stole field corn... not sweet corn but actual field corn that was to be used for livestock feed. If you've ever taken a summer drive in IL. you've seen  miles and miles of corn fields stretched out as far as the eye can see. And soybean fields. And stinky hog farms- gawd, I hated that smell that would fill the car as we'd drive by them with the windows open. But back to the corn...

Field corn is only edible for a few weeks during the growing season. My mom would plan out our corn foraging well in advance. She was the Don of corn stealing, carefully planning out our yearly crime spree. Long before the corn had grown to the size suitable for eating, we'd take drives to find and stake out fields that were easily accessible from the road with no houses near by so we wouldn't be seen- after all we were stealing. Once Mom found  a field suitable for our thievery, we'd make numerous trips back to the selected spot so she could detect the perfect time for the heist of our ill gotten corn. When she deemed the corn ready she'd give us each a bag and send us into the field like we were the freaking Children of the Corn.  For several weeks Mom would stuff us with corn like she was fattening us up for market. I remember that we all thought it was delicious, but suspect its tastiness had more to do with the butter and salt we slathered on each ear rather than the quality of the corn.

I can't remember exactly when or why our strange summer ritual started- wish I had asked my mom about this before she died. I know it wasn't because we couldn't afford to buy real sweet corn. I mean come on, it isn't some expensive luxury item, especially in IL. where sweet corn is plentiful.  And we bought lots of other fresh summer veggies so surely we could afford corn. Maybe her family did it and she continued it? I'll never know...

As I approached my adolescence I came to realize how crazy it was to steal field corn and refused to participate in the corn capers.  It was only later in life that it occurred to me we were eating food that had been drenched with herbicides and pesticides like DDT (which was used until the early 70's). Between consuming chemical saturated field corn and attending schools in buildings built with asbestos it's a wonder I'm still alive.

I assure you we paid for the organic sweet corn we ate over the holiday weekend. And though we didn't enjoy the island this past weekend, we did have lovely sunsets right outside our back door...




8 comments:

  1. Now I'm craving sweet corn ... wonder if there's a field nearby :-)

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  2. Your story also has me craving corn or as my hillbilly ex used to say, " you flung a cravin' on me". I am also craving the day you write about the time ROM accidentally shot you.

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    1. OMG! I forgot all about the finishing the shooting story. I have a draft saved but forgot to finish it-LOL

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  3. I've been reading your blog for hours and can't get enough. My god, you're funny! My only complaint is there aren't enough posts. If mom sending you out to steal corn is one of your tamer childhood stories, I'm dying to hear the wilder ones. And what's this about your husband shooting you????

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    1. Thank you! Glad you enjoy my blatherings. Yes, my husband shot me but I don't want to ruin the ending by saying if I survived or not-LOL

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  4. Yeah, thanks Lynn for bringing that up. I've asked about it enough to officially qualify as a nag if I bring it up again....

    Love the Children of the Corn Thieves story! XOXO

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    1. I completely forgot about it! I started writing it some time ago, saved a draft but then forgot to finish it.

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