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The unfailing fervor of fruitfulness

Quiz. Why did God invent teeth?

1. So we could smile and not look all gummy.

2. So toothpaste companies could prosper.

3. So dentists could become dentists.

If you answered affirmatively to any of the above, you would be wrong. Come on, everybody, you know the answer. God invented teeth so we could eat corn!

Chomp, chomp, chomp … gulp … ahhhhh!

Every summer about late July, I am reminded all over again of the bounteous abundance of our Minnesota farms. God sure had it right when he created our state. But, he didn’t go about it in all seriousness, you know. God had a quirky, bedeviling side to his inventiveness, teasing us and forcing in us a forbearance we didn’t know we had. He used corn as a good test, for every year we had to wait 300 days before we could eat it fresh again, a seemingly endless eternity.

Have you noticed that driving through a Minnesota countryside is like a different, revised National Geographic movie being shown every week? The scenes change throughout the year, never the same. Fallow fields. Furrowed fields. Fertile fields. Flourishing fields.

Right now our eyes feast upon a virtual cornucopia of corn (and is that where the word comes from?) as far as the eye can see. With silky umbilical cords twisting their way to each kernel, the green stalks sway like synchronized swimmers in landlocked oceans. By anyone’s reckoning, it’s an enchanting sight—acres upon acres of vegetable platoons all sporting identical crew cuts perfected by an exacting barber. Can you imagine the reactions of refugees moving to Minnesota? They must be gobsmacked, believing that food can never run out.

Remember when corn stalks were different heights? Some really, really tall (the record is 24 feet — honest!) and some really, really short. Corn stalks today are precise clones of each other. Same height, same green, same distance apart; scary in their symmetry.

Furthermore, the kernels used to be large, chewy, yellow and starchy. We thought they were delicious until shoepeg corn came along. It was just the opposite with teeny tiny kernels that often disappeared to nubbins at the end of the rows. The kernels were sweet miniature exploding bubbles, and as pale as Casper the Friendly Ghost.

Each summer when the corn is finally harvested, my husband and I eat only corn for dinner. I mean ONLY corn. Nothing else. And to make it easy I put a personal stick of butter in front of each of us to roll our cobs on. I chew like someone playing runs on a piano. Splish, splash! Moreover I do not waste precious moments wiping my face nor do I care if my teeth look like they’re wearing polar fleece hoodies.

To be sure, I relish looking at our Minnesota corn fields. They’re an awesome sight. As my car zips past them, I hope the corn feels the appreciative vibes I’m sending its way. I hope it knows how deeply grateful I am.

And having expressed my gratitude, I return home to make certain our butter vault is fully stocked.