If you love Garrison Keillor and his famous “Prairie Home Companion” show as I always did, you will no doubt have heard him sing the “Sweet Corn” song:
*”O that fresh sweet corn that the Lord sent down
So we know how heaven will be,
No grief, no tears, just the young golden ears
Plenty for you and for me.
Though the road be hard and deep is the night
And the future we cannot see
Take my hand, dear Lord, and I’ll be all right
If you’ll save a few ears for me.”
Having said that, this year the Crankee Yankee and I planted corn for the first time. I had never done this; in the three years we’ve had raised bed gardens (this year, seven beds were used), we’ve always tried something new.
Now I have seen corn growing in fields, noticed how one day you see actual corn silk (and did you know that each tiny strand of corn silk is attached to each tiny kernel of corn?) begins to form. One day when the corn silk has turned golden brown, you know that the corn is ready to pick, shuck and toss into a bath of scalding hot water.
Our first batch of butter and sugar corn tasted exactly like that; sugar and butter. The buttery kernels pop between your teeth, and the sweetness of the corn is a gift and a blessing. We have taken to eating corn nearly every night, and it just gets better and better. There is more than we can possibly eat, so it’s a pleasure to bring some up to my dad, and a neighbor or two.
I have enjoyed corn on the cob all my life, but I swear that no corn ever tasted as good as the corn we planted. It amazes and humbles me that you can plant little dried-up corn kernels in the ground, water them and cover them with dirt—then weeks later, you have corn to eat. Gardening is miraculous to me for the very simplicity of it, and the rewards you reap later on.
I don’t wonder why good old Garrison sings about fresh sweet corn; it is a taste of heaven.
*This is just part of the song, but to me, the best part of the song.