Friday, April 1, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History - Spring Has Sprung

In Week 14 of 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History, we're writing about Spring. What was spring like where and when you grew up? Describe not only the climate, but how the season influenced your activities, food choices, etc.

Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!"  ~Robin Williams

And no one knows how to party like Marshall County, Kentucky, on the first Monday of April.  Regardless of what the winter had brought, regardless of how cold it had been, children of Marshall County knew that April would bring Tater Day!  That's right, folks.  An homage to the lowly sweet potato sprout and a old-fashioned "trade day", the first Monday of April became a local holiday.  Schools were closed and a parade was planned.  There were rides to ride at the park in Benton and Hutchins Bar-Be-Que to eat.  I'm sure there were my dreaded clowns there, but, in the euphoria of corn dogs and funnel cakes, I don't remember seeing them there.

Unfortunately, I only remember going a few times.  My parents would usually take this opportunity to work on our garden.  We owned not only the lot our house was on, but also the lot across the street.  Without a house there, it was ours to play on.  Daddy had built a two story playhouse that was originally used in the Calvert City Christmas Parade in 1969 as Santa's Workshop.  The front half of the lot was more like a park.  We had a fire pit, benches, flowers, a tire swing on a limb of the old mulberry tree.  The back 1/2 of this lot was a garden.  And it was this garden that was the bane of my existence!  Green beans, strawberries, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, corn, grapes.  It was this garden that, later in the year, would prevent me from getting to sleep late.  But it was also this garden, that in a short few weeks, would bring strawberries.  Wonderful, luscious, plump strawberries, which brought homemade / home canned strawberry jam and stewed strawberries.  And those brought warm cornbread and homemade shortcake.

We worked all through the summer and fall from that garden.  Spring producing plants would be replaced by summer and then fall ones.  The canners were in full gear with jams, preserves, vegetables, pickles as well as frozen.  All those cans ended up in the pantry in our basement.  And the efforts of that spring, summer and fall helped feed us through the winter.  

Until it was Spring again.  And Spring brought thoughts of Tater Day, rides and corn dogs, but the realization of helping in the garden and mowing the yard.


  1. I lived on a farm, but our garden was the size of at least half a city lot, and there was always something that needed to be done. But, like you, there were strawberries that tasted wonderful when freshly picked in the sunshine, and nothing tastes as good as freshly picked corn!

    Maybe everyone should have a garden, at least once, to appreciate the work involved in putting that fresh food on the table!

  2. I agree, Sherry! I hated the garden when I was growing up, but now, I'd give anything to have it again. I've recently taken up canning and preserving again and am hoping to teach my daughter how.