My Mama, the Green Bean Queen

Ronda Rich's picture

Yet, another queen has sprung up to reign in my family.

My mama has ascended to the royal throne to preside as Green Bean Queen. Over the summer, she earned this title by paying prodigious attention to her little garden, which consisted solely of green beans, tomatoes and a few cucumbers that weren’t planted but popped up anyway. The poor tomatoes got little attention because the green beans got the royal share of love and nurturing.

Remember Bubba in the movie “Forrest Gump”? He was always thinking of ways to prepare shrimp?

That’s mama with green beans. She can make green bean casseroles, green bean salads, green bean sandwiches (don’t laugh until you’ve tried cold green beans on white bread with mayo spread liberally), green bean soup, steamed green beans, green beans seasoned with ham, green beans fried with bacon grease, green bean bread, green beans boiled quickly then sautéed with butter and green beans tossed with grits.

And, she reasons, if you can make a pie from lemons and pudding from rice, why can’t you make a cake with green beans? After all, a lot of sugar can hide a multitude of sins.

To be honest, it’s just too many green beans for me. But it sure makes the Queen happy.

For three months, she lived solely for green beans. Before the heat of the day grew unbearable, she was in the garden attired in long sleeves, pants, my galoshes and her little red hat. Then, happily, she spent the rest of the day devoted to her green beans. She picked, strung, snapped and canned.

“Would you climb up there and check those cans of green beans?” she asked one day when I stopped by. “I want you to take the old cans down so I can throw them away.”

On high shelves in the pantry, I found many cans of green beans that Mama had canned, dating back to 1988 and all years in-between.

“Mama, this is ridiculous,” I said as I pulled them down. “There are at least 10 cans of beans for every year back to 1988.”

She looked at me imperially. “Why is that ridiculous?” her Majesty asked.

I rolled my eyes. “Because it means that you don’t need all the green beans that you can every year. Yet, you keep on growing them and canning them.”

Her Royal Highness ignored me because her pressure canner was whistling her name.

One day, her obsession got to be too much. She needed flat lids but refused to buy them from the nearby small store that was charging $1.39 for a dozen lids.

“They’re trying to put us small farmers out of business,” she railed.

“A little green bean garden doesn’t make you a farmer.”

That was the comment that got me sent all the way into town to hunt down lids for $1.25. With the price of gas, I figure it cost me eight dollars to save Mama 28 cents for two dozen lids.

But she’s the Green Bean Queen, so whatta you going to do?

As summer threw to a close, Mama grew sad. “I don’t know what in the world I’m gonna do without my green beans to take care of. It’s gonna be awful lonely.”

I felt sorry for her. “Well, maybe you could hold multiple titles. Some queens do.”

“Like what?” she asked.

“I think you’d make a terrific Pumpkin Queen.”

She smiled at the thought.

Does anyone know how fried pumpkin tastes?

login to post comments | Ronda Rich's blog