Better’n Bread ‘N Butter Pickles
By Don Kenton Henry
Nothing but the sound of crickets rose above the corn in the mid-day sun that hot July. I’d shut my tractor down, taken my brown bag and thermos and left the field for the row of trees bordering the Wabash. That river cut right through grandpa’s one hundred twenty acres and the heart of Indiana. I lay on its bank in the shade of a sycamore focused on the sunlight streaming through lily pads at the river’s edge – a soft, green stage light on tadpoles dancing to the rhythm of its current just beneath the surface. Dragon Flies hovered in the sun above.
My sandwich gone, I sipped mom’s sweet tea, head propped against a log and my Farmall hat pulled over my eyes. I dreamed of the coming weekend, town picnic and dance in the city park. 40 years later I still think of Sara, her hair all tied in yellow ribbons, sunlight streaming through her cotton dress, a soft and subtle stage light on her youthful form dancing just beneath the surface. We swayed to the rhythm of the music. In my young but callused hand, that dress felt as thin as the wing of a dragon fly.
When the sun went down, we slipped away to the grassy knoll above the ball diamond. I still see the stars reflected in her eyes as she gazed upward at the night sky. Lord she was better’n watermelon, sweet corn, burgers and granny’s bread n’ butter pickles straight from a Ball Jar on the 4th of July. That memory cuts right through 120 months of summer since and the heart of this ol’ Indiana farmboy.