A Beans and Cornbread Kind of Love

When I was just a little girl my brother and I would go with our mother to her parents house to help with the garden. My grandfather had suffered a couple of heart attacks so it was mostly my mother and grandmother who did the hard labor. My brother and I were not much help, but I doubt they expected us to be. Every year they grew the same thing: corn, squash, green beans, tomatoes and what my husband refers to as lima beans. My grandparents and mom called them butter-beans.

I am NOT by any stretch of the imagination a gardner. Instead of a green thumb, mine is decidedly brown. So when my husband asked if I would like to try raising a small garden this year I hesitantly said “yes.”  I wanted the vegetables but I wasn’t sure of my ability to grow them. I reminded him of his promise to me to keep it a small garden right before he went out to plow. I should have known better. My husband doesn’t do small. He’s the type guy that if he goes to the grocery store hungry he comes home with enough groceries to feed a small country.


When I saw the garden he planted I almost fainted.

“I said small!” I yelled at him.

He gave me a sheepish look and said, “Well, you’ll probably kill at least half of it.”   Touché

Monsoons in Kentucky

I don’t know how the weather has been where you live this summer but we’ve had tons of rain in Kentucky. I should have had enough vegetables to feed an army but that didn’t happen. I didn’t kill anything but for some reason it really didn’t do very well. We got lots of squash and some green beans but only a few tomatoes and no corn.

Today I went to check one last time to see if there was anything left and this is what I found.


One last gift from our garden…butter-beans! This may look like a lot of beans but if you have ever shelled butter-beans you know that after these beans are shelled you end up with a small bowl. And you will also know that it takes a fair amount of time to shell them. This small basket of beans took me an hour and a half to shell.

It’s funny the things you remember when you are shelling beans.

I remembered my grandmother and mother working in the garden together. Bent over, head to head, picking beans and talking and laughing.

I remembered them picking corn, shucking it, cutting it off the cob and making a huge mess in the kitchen. There would be corn stuck to the windows, the counter tops and even my mother’s glasses.

I remember how they loved tomatoes. My grandmother would often slice a tomato, put some mayo on a slice of bread and eat just a tomato sandwich.

I remember how every meal had to have cornbread or biscuits with it or it wasn’t complete.

Even now I can see our plates heaped with beans of one kind of another and a big slice of cornbread slathered in butter.

I miss my mother and my grandmother. Every single day I miss them, but something else occurred to me this afternoon while shelling butter-beans. Mom and grandma may not have been able to pass on to me their ability to grow a great garden but they did teach me a thing or two about life and love. Because of them I know that you don’t have to say “I love you,” to let your family know you are thinking of them.

Sometimes a big plate of beans and cornbread can say it for you.






  1. Peggy Borgstrom 24 Aug, 2013

    You have a way of bringing back some of my fondest memories. I actually love to shell peas and yes “butter beans”. There is a difference between them and lima beans! LOL
    Thank you for the walk down memory lane. LOVE YOU!

  2. Mary Alice 24 Aug, 2013

    Such a good post…I can see, hear, feel, and taste all of it!
    Sorry about your garden…could it have been like mine the year that Daddy said, “You all had a pretty good garden till the tennis took it!” ??? lol
    Love you,
    Aunt Marya

  3. We have not gotten a lot of rain this year. Just here and there. I have never even considered growing butter beans, and they’re one of my faves. Doh, now I will consider it next year. 🙂 I’m visiting today from Oh My Heartsie’s hop. 🙂

  4. honey you bring back alot of memories. My parents grew up in the south but moved to california before I was born. They had a huge garden and guess what my sisters and I were drafted to do on saturdays shell beans. Thanks for the wonderful story

  5. Visiting form Heartsie blog hop, enjoyed your post!

  6. teresak 25 Aug, 2013

    Thank you! I do hope you will come back!

  7. teresak 25 Aug, 2013

    Hi Lorraine, Some of my best friends had the same last name as you! How nice to hear from you. I’m so glad you liked my post and do hope you will come back and visit NanaHood on a regular basis! Teresa

  8. teresak 25 Aug, 2013

    Hi Rosey, So nice of you to stop by. Always good to hear from you. Blessings to you, Teresa

  9. teresak 25 Aug, 2013

    Thank you, Here’s to a better year next year! Love you too! Teresa

  10. I remember helping my neighbors in their gardens growing up too. Now my kids get to gain garden memories with my mother-in-law. This is such a true testament to how the simple things in life can create the best memories for us. Thanks for sharing a part of your childhood with us.

  11. teresak 25 Aug, 2013

    Aww, so sweet! Thank you for the nice comment! Hope you will become a NanaHood regular! teresa

  12. annette hepner 25 Aug, 2013

    Don’t feel bad about your garden. Ours did the same thing this year. Too much rain and cool weather. I am just totally impressed that you had a garden! Try again next year. Loved this post. Brought back many memories of my own sweet mama and how much she loved her garden and us.

  13. Hi there, gardens can either produce a lot or only minimal amounts, Im experiencing that this year too, very few tomatoes, squash grew but did not produce and my cucumbers were bitter. My peppers on the other hand have been giving us plenty along with jalapenos. I remember my grandmother and aunts cooking and the preparation. I too miss them but glad I paid attention to their good cooking and baking.

    Thank you for sopping by today, I appreciate it.
    Have a great week, Karren

  14. Woo!!! I would faint too. That is a huge garden. I grew up working in the garden when we came home from school. I have a small raised garden bed in my back yard. This year, we vacationed for most of the summer, so we only planted watermelons. Perhaps, you will have a better garden next year. Good luck!

  15. What a sweet memory to share! I felt every emotion coming through loud and clear. And I agree with your Mom and Grandma: everything is better with cornbread. 🙂

    Thank you so much for sharing.

  16. teresak 27 Aug, 2013

    And thank you for visiting and for the sweet comment!