Tuesday 14 July 2015

Mexican Jumping Beans

This afternoon I was leaning on the windowsill in our bedroom watching the hail hit the lawn. I am not much of a gardener and don’t care that much about the crop, but I don’t want to lose it to hail. I guess that feeling of despair when the hail starts to fall is hard wired into us humans. It has been ten thousand years since our ancestors invented cultivation and in those ten thousand years there have been a billion tears due to hail. What could be worse than nursing a crop all summer, only to lose it during ten minutes of hail in August?

I don’t rely on my crops for my livelihood or even to supplement my food supply. I just like to see the dirt part of the yard balanced with greenery for most of the summer. I usually have peas for the grandkids to pick and eat. They don’t usually. I have carrots for the grandkids to pick and eat. They do when they can. I have tomatoes for us and everyone to eat. No one actually wants your excess tomatoes. They say they do, but they don’t. I have potatoes which everyone wants, but since I paid more for the seed potatoes than I would for a 20 pound bag, I am keeping them for myself.

Gardens are mostly more work than they are worth. It is tradition though. I have a buddy that visits pretty much every summer who loves to garden. Well, he used to love gardening but he has no where to garden anymore. Instead, he visits me for a week and gives me advice on how I should enlarge the garden. I try to explain that the garden is really just for show and I’m not terribly interested in the produce. Too often in the past I have ended up with a broken heart due to the garden. It is like I am talking to someone that doesn’t understand the language. Not caring about the garden just doesn’t even register for him. I offer him a pea pod or a miniature, deformed carrot, but he declines while pacing out the dimensions that my newly expanded garden should be.

All this, while I watched the hail bouncing in the back yard.

My mind drifted back five decades or so to when I held a Mexican jumping bean in my palm. I was mesmerized! How could a bean move by itself? I thought that my brother was pulling my leg and was just bouncing the bean. Well, until he put the bean on the table and it kept moving. That was the summer of Mexican Jumping Beans; everyone had a little plastic box with a bean inside. I later learned that the beans jumped because of a larva was living inside and didn’t like it when the bean was heated by sitting in someone’s palm and would attempt to move the bean to a cooler environment.

As an adult I just can’t believe that the government of the day allowed the import of millions of beans with a creature of dubious origin inside. Who knows what those larvas have morphed into over the decades? They are disgusting creatures that avoid the warmth and light and no one knows how evil their intentions are. More than likely they emerged from the beans and grew into Conservatives.

The beans were replaced by little tubes that had a ball bearing inside, but it wasn"t the same. I did see a jumping bean a few years ago, in my grandson's hand. Pretty neat stuff!

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