The turkey that graced our table yesterday came from Perry Bender’s farm in Kalona, Iowa. On Tuesday, my oldest daughter Meera, home from Philadelphia for the week, and I traveled down an almost gravel road to pick it up. On the way, we stopped to visit our friend and Iowa’s Poet Laureate, Mary Swander. She’s how we know where to get the best Thanksgiving turkeys.
It was grey and rainy on Tuesday. Chilly, too. Over hot tea and good conversation, I kept thinking back to other times and other conversations shared in Mary's kitchen. Once, before my youngest daughter was born, and when my older two children were still young, we spent a late summer afternoon at Mary’s. After a while my kids were restless and hungry, so she boiled a huge pot of water. And into it went ears of sweet corn, picked that very morning from a nearby field. Soon they were served with butter and sprinkled with salt. And soon, too, we headed down the road to get another dozen. The Amish farmer took us to his field, the way I imagined he had done with Mary earlier that day, and there, in the tall greenness, he asked the kids to choose their corn. They chose quickly, knowing that back in Mary’s kitchen the water in the huge pot was still hot.
Gratefulness. Turkeys, friends, and late summer sweet corn.
Check out Mary Swander’s poetry and non-fiction.