Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Excess Largesse

Pastor Lynda called yesterday morning to take us up on our offer to supply support for her congregation’s food bank in the form of food. One of our primary reasons for gardening and beginning the First Friday suppers was to create an avenue into families of Coker Creek. I miss the easy relationships we had with so many children and their parents now that we live so far from family.

I was scheduled to go to the garden to harvest field peas, but was concerned that the recipients of the excess of the Almighty’s largesse may not be usable to non-cooks. My misgivings about the ability of Lynda’s clients to use fresh food were assuaged by her assurances that she could show them proper pea-shelling procedures and such.

Richard had gone downtown to the recycle center, unloading our “souvenirs” all our company in the form of the trash left after their departures. I wasn’t looking forward to working alone in the hot sun, but one of the things I’ve learned from Mamie is how to be like Tom Sawyer in getting some company in and assistance with my work. I invited Mountaintop Mary to make picking peas and gathering eggs at Mamie’s the day’s activities for her version of Granny Camp.

Mary and three of her four grandchildren, spending the summer with her, arrived with baskets in hand. We exchanged tokens of our appreciation of each other, Emma presenting me with a perfect Zinnia and the children choosing their favorite souvenirs from our collection of Coker Creek t-shirts and such. Chris, Aaron, and Emma, with Grandma Mary’s help, made short work of pea-picking and headed home for lunch.

While I continued my harvesting, Marshall and Donna came by to pick peaches. Donna and I began comparing notes on dealing with all this edible excess. I shared with her my desire to teach needy families in the area the same survival skills that we’ve been learning from Mamie and Jack. Lo and behold, she had been having the same conversation with someone connected to the Smoky Mountain Christian Camp, down the road from Jack’s house and his gardens. She also informed me that her grandchildren are coming to Coker Creek for Donna and Marshall’s version of Granny Camp, and that they, like some of our campers, had a visit to Ms. Mamie’s garden and hen house on the top of their wish list of vacation activities. Move over Mickey Mouse; the kids love the pleasures of the simple way of life.

When Richard and I had our first version of Granny Camp on Lake Pontchartrain, our Austrian nephews who had spent several weeks doing all the American tourist activities, including Disney World, declared that their time boating, floating, and fishing at our place was, “better than Disney World.” We’re striving to create the same sense of excitement for families who come to Coker Creek to visit. We’re hoping to have the opportunity to help do the same for families living here.