Ride the #039;Pea Patch Express#039;

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 29, 2005

I talked to a friend of mine the other day who said she had spent the day picking peas, something that was relatively new to her.

In the last year, she has married a man who was reared right, and who believes you should raise some of the food you eat.

I laughed as she told about her first few excursions in the pea patch.

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She said she nearly killed her husband when he came in from work and was asked why she had picked a bushel.

Now some of you will know this story because I shared it with you many years ago, but it seemed to fit what she was telling me; so I shared with her how I believe a pea patch can cause people to go bezerk and have homocidal thoughts.

In 1985, the year my family moved back to Butler County after many years in Crenshaw County, my dad decided to plant some peas and butterbeans.

These rows seemed to stretch on forever, and you really don't think about a row length until you are out there in the hot summer sun picking for your life.

During this particular pea patch season, I was the one who would go and help my mom pick peas in the early morning hours. It was hard work, but it was also fun in some ways.

We had gone this particular day and

instead of having them machine-shelled, because mom said they crushed the peas, we shelled them ourselves.

As the hour grew late, it came down to me and her shelling for all we were worth.

We knew we had to get done, becasue we were supposed to go back the next morning.

So finally, we finished and crawled into bed.

A good day's work.

The next morning, bright and early, we pulled up at the pea patch to find my Aunt Daisy Phelps standing in the middle of the patch with her coffee cup in hand, smiling as big as all outdoors.

It seems she had gotten up that day very early and had been at the picking for a while when we got there.

So she had several containers ready for us.

She would only take a few for herself, a mess, as she called them.

So mom and I picked some more and off we headed for home with even more peas than we had the day before.

About 2 a.m. the next morning, the pile of peas on the sun porch did not seem to be going down, no matter how fast we shelled them.

Everyone got in the act that night, and we all shelled and shelled and shelled.

So about 2 a.m., my mother looked over at me and said with all the seriousness she could muster that if her sister was in the pea patch when we got there later that morning that she was going to gun the gas and run her down where she stood.

The image of Aunt Daisy running from my mom's car got me tickled and then she got to laughing, and we were then both laughing until we cried.

Oddly, I saw Aunt Daisy on Tuesday, just before I talked to my friend.

As I left her and Uncle Chet's house, I thought about Momma and the pea patch and smiled.

To this day I can still picture Daisy riding on the hood like a hood ornament with a handful of peas in one hand and her coffee cup in the other.

I think she and I both would enjoy another chance in the pea patch with Momma.

Jay Thomas is managing editor of the Greenville Advocate and can be reached at 334-383-9302, ext. 136 or via email at jay.thomas@greenvilleadvocate.com.