It's the mid-1950s in Watertown, Wisconsin on a fragrant June morning. Marsha, my personal life instructor, is about to initiate me in yet another one of those mysteries of life that makes it so great to be us.
A certain part of the road – the asphalt is broken and there are pieces of broken pavement strewn around. We wait by the roadside. It's a fairly busy road - Center Street becomes Dodge County Highway M as it leaves Watertown. County M is a thoroughfare for trucks laden with produce heading from the all the farms and fields to the canning factory in nearby Clyman. And this time of year, there was only one type of produce going by – pea vines!
A truck appears in the distance. As it gets closer, we confirm – yes, it's a pea truck! We stand by the bump in the road, and wait for the truck. The truck is a huge wooden box, overloaded and heaped up over the top. The trucker proceeds slowly, knowing how overloaded his truck is. But he hits the inevitable bump, and about a half-bushel of pea-vines fall off and hit the pavement.
Swooping in like a flock of vultures, we grab armfuls of the peas and run! Stopping behind the house, we sat on the back porch examining our plunder. We'd just break open the pods and scrape them off with our teeth. It doesn't get any better than that! If they had pesticides in those days, they were not poisonous. These were the tastiest peas on earth.
When we later told our parents about it, the only comment was disappointment that we had not saved them any. This had been one of their own childhood rituals as well – passed along to the next generation.
written 06.23.10. excerpt from "45 rpm" Thanks for listening and contributing. For up-to-the-minute thoughts, come on over to twitter.com I'm @dimbulb52
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