Sweet corn is blessing of summer
Date posted: August 2, 2013
Recently, the Notebook reprinted some sentiments from a veteran living in Virginia. His letter recalled the warm, welcoming experiences he had in 1944 while passing through Sheridan on a troop train.
This brought forth a letter from Marie Byrum of Sheridan whose mother, Edith Dawdy, was one of the ladies who met the trains carrying soldiers and sailors and provided home-cooked food and beverages to the men. Mrs. Dawdy was a Red Cross volunteer for many years. Ms. Byrum recalls how she and her sisters “grew up at the depot” and spent many hours waiting on the platform for the trains while the ladies unpacked and organized the food and drink. Ms. Byrum also recalls how Charles Popovich of Sheridan was one of those soldiers on those trains and notes how he told her time and again how much “the token of good will” was appreciated.
Susan and I are back from two weeks of spoiling grandchildren in Montrose, Colo. Wilson and Stella, ages 4 and 2, can be a handful, particularly at once. We also brought back the world’s best sweet corn, Olathe Sweet, some chocolates from the Russell Stover candy factory there and some Palisade peaches. All of which have disappeared pretty quickly among the Press staff.
The Olathe Sweet sweet corn harvest began July 18, the day after we arrived and our son, William, a photojournalist/reporter for The Watch newspapers, covered the event. It’s a big deal. John Harold, the farmer who owns the brand and the company Tuxedo Corn, brings in almost 100 H-2A workers in order to produce 650,000 cases of corn – that’s 3.2 million ears. (Each case has about 48 ears.) That’s 80 percent less than what Harold’s primary buyer, Kroger Stores, ordered in past years. It’s an upshot from the uncertainty of the immigration reform legislation that’s become stalled in
Congress. Less corn planted, fewer workers, higher prices. “Without a guest worker program, our business will not survive,” Harold told the Watch. Harold is considered not only a top U.S. farmer and businessman, but also a man who pays his workers a better than average wage, provides better housing and treats his employees well. As a result, most of the same workers return year after year. Once the sweet corn harvest begins, the work is hard, the days are long. One local hire, he noted, walked off the job after 20 minutes.
“We were blessed by the minister; who practiced what he preached.
We were blessed by the poor man; who said heaven is within reach.
We were blessed by the girl selling roses; showed us how to live.
We were blessed by the neglected child; who knew how to forgive.”
— Lucinda Williams, American singer/songwriter, from the song, ‘Blessed.’
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