Harry and the peas

April 6, 2011

Stir-fried pea tendrils (from the Farmer's Market) w/ a touch of fresh ginger

To a couple of little girls growing up on the farm in the 50’s and 60’s, a visit from The Cousins was as good as it got. Frankie was older–really too old to be our playmate, so he just “deviled” with us–but Harry was my buddy, my partner in crime, my idol, and my mentor. 2 1/2 years older than I, he was up there right around God, it seemed, and he was never without an idea to add a creative twist to our play. An electrical engineer today, he started early: with the darkroom in his bedroom closet, and the soldering iron on top of his white painted bedroom bureau mounted next to the many small towers of hardened, molten solder. Harry had a tree house–when we didn’t–and he did experiments out in the milkhouse and he had a solution one Christmas that allowed him to peek through the wrapping paper to know what he was getting ahead of time, and there was that day when he came close to blowing himself up. It was his idea to swing through the air on the ropes like Tarzan in the barn that day before we got caught, and I’m fairly certain that he had to have been my inspiration, at the age of 6, for writing a letter to Santa, asking for a go-cart, and well, there just never seemed to be an end to his penchant for unusual fun. Even peas were fun with Harry around! I think some of this is the difference between boys and girls, but it had just never occured to me to pop the peas in a pea patch with bicycle tires. I’d really never even noticed the peas when they were just doing their thing, growing in the field. But to Harry, they provided an arena for “illegal” activity. I was sure we’d get in trouble for malicious destruction of a crop, but for Harry, the peas were put there for him to ride his bike through just to hear them make a delicious sound of popping. I can still see him winding through the rows, curving around right next to my sister and me, laughing, as he rode through the staccato notes of his pea playing…his version of Farm Be-Bop with Pea Pop?? Sorry. Don’t shoot me. (Unless you shoot me with fresh peas since they’re to die for….)

I didn’t see any peas last week at the Farmer’s Market, but the pea tendrils were back!!! I LOVE THOSE THINGS! They’re great plain–just the raw, leafy curl-i-cues held in your hand and stuffed into your mouth, or in a salad, or stir-fried with a bit of fresh ginger grated into them. They’re $ 3 a handful, and last week, there were plenty for all. Don’t miss them!



  1. Bobbi says:

    I laughed !!!! Thanks for the memories ! I can remember something about the milk house at Aunt Sara’s and the barn flying though like Tarzan!!!

  2. admin says:

    Oh, I’m so glad, Bobbi!!! I giggled, too, as I was thinking and typing, and I can see you laughing at your computer, too! 🙂

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