A Woman's Voice

SNAPPING BEANS IN THE SUMMER — July 17, 2010 by Diane Dean White

Posted in MEMORY LANE by doloresayotte on July 17, 2010
Tags: , ,
The old apple trees were overgrown but still bared the delicious fruit they always had. The house where I spent so many warm summer days was flanked on both sides by the beauty of that orchard. I was surprised that the house was never sold and still belonged to a family member. Maybe they just couldn’t part with it.  

Each summer had been exciting as a teenager, because I could plan to stay a week in the countryside where so much activity took place. Driving on the long road that led back to the old farmhouse, I wished I could go back in time to once again sit and chat with Aunt Edna. 

The birds outside chirped a welcome as I looked around the old home. White sheets kept the overstuffed chairs and sofas clean — a lavender scent permeated my nostrils as I walked in the front door. 

I immediately pictured my aunt coming through the dining room door to greet me. But there was no one here. Once inside the kitchen with gingham curtains, Aunt Edna’s apron could be seen hanging on a peg against the wall.  

I saw the old colander hanging with the other utensils and I could almost hear her say, “Lands sake we’d best get to snapping these beans, and have a tall drink of lemonade so we can keep chattering away.” We’d go out the back door from the kitchen onto the screen porch that was always so large and accommodating for every need possible.

Aunt Edna and Uncle Henry kept some rockers and a small wooden table with straight chairs, and a red and white checkered table cloth with an oil lamp so we could eat our afternoon or evening meal on the porch. There was an old hook rug that made it cozy and always a fresh coat of paint that made it feel so clean. 

Sometimes Uncle Henry would bring his guitar out and play a few cords. Aunt Edna and I would join in singing “By the Light of the Silvery Moon” or something else. I learned a lot of the older songs while visiting them. 

The rockers were still in place as I walked around the back porch. The fragrant flowers that bloomed so beautifully outside the screen filled my head and I sat down. Some old galvanized pans were stacked near the table and I remembered all those Blue Lake green beans that we snapped as we talked about the things that were happening everywhere. We must have covered every family event, historic moments and how Aunt Edna’s own grandmother had taught her to sew a perfect stitch. 

Aunt Edna didn’t do a lot of freezing. She canned most of the produce out of their garden, and beans were no exception. She liked them canned and so we’d get out the old Mason jars and put up a number of beans, along with zucchini, tomatoes, squash, pickles and chili sauce and applesauce, apple butter and so many good recipes. I was happy to plan my two week summer stay with my great aunt and uncle, as it was always special for a city gal in the country.

“Take something as a memory of Edna and Henry’s,” the current farm owner and my distant relative said when I picked up the key.
“There’s nobody left and they’d want you to have something.”

Years ago Aunt Edna had given me an old collection of china slippers that she knew I loved so. Over the years, I had added to her collection, and now they were part of my home decor, kept in an old antique china cabinet.

I lingered just a few minutes longer, thinking back to the sound of the voices and laughter from the old place that had come to mean so much to me. We had made a special skirt on the back porch, sewing the hem and gathering the waist band one summer afternoon. There was a church social that we’d been invited to, and at 13, it was exciting to have a new skirt and be going to a fun activity in anticipation of meeting others my age. I wasn’t disappointed, as there were a lot of kids and I became friends with several. I wondered now whatever happened to them.

I picked up the old galvanized pans that we’d used to snap those beans and walked back out into the orchard. I picked a few apples and took them to the car with me. Nothing would ever bring back the memories more than what I could embrace in my own heart about my summer visits with Aunt Edna and Uncle Henry. But I could hang the pans on my porch and someday share my memories with my own family.

I walked back to the car looking at farmland as far as my eyes could see. I heard the noon whistle blow and I could almost hear Aunt Edna remark, “We’d best get the table set and ready, Henry will soon be here for his dinner.”

In the distance, I could hear Uncle Henry coming back from the barn singing, “It was from Aunt Dinah’s quilting party I was seeing Nellie home.”

I smiled — so thankful for the summer memories with two special people.
© Diane Dean White 2010

Thank you very much Diane for sharing such a fond memory with us!    

Diane is a former newspaper reporter and author of two books. She contributes to various publications and shares heartwarming stories with readers. She and her husband Stephen, reside in Florida.You may read more of her stories by going to www.DianeDeanWhite.com



6 Responses to 'SNAPPING BEANS IN THE SUMMER — July 17, 2010 by Diane Dean White'

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  1. Fred Ayotte said,

    Diane….this brought back so many memories of my youth when we use to work in my parents huge garden gathering potatoes, onions, peas…etc. They were such simple and happy times. I wish my kids and grandchildren could experience those days.

  2. Andrea Cockerill said,

    What wonderful memories you are so blessed with, to hold dear to your heart. I am sure that your Aunt and Uncle found it just as special to share those times with you.

  3. Mary Haskett said,

    Thanks for sharing those beautiful memories. I felt I was there with you.

  4. Hi Dolores –

    I popped over here from Facebook after reading your nice note. Thank you for visiting my blog and becoming a Follower. I’m returning the favor. 🙂

    When I saw this post, I had to chuckle. Diane and I recently became friends on Facebook. In fact, I visited her website today. Small world.


  5. Laura said,

    Crying! Big blubbering tears! You brought back fond memories of my own favourite Aunt & Uncle. Thank you for sharing!

  6. hope_rising said,


    What a very touching story, my goodness, I could see everything you remembered.

    I am of the age now when memories are my blanket of comfort and all things that make them keep them close are my treasures.

    I’m so glad that you took the galvanized pan’s. From what I could gather that is the perfect icon for your days at Aunt Edna’s farm.

    very touching story.

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