Thursday, June 01, 2006

A Touch of History and a "Mess" of Beans

I am recovering from my bee stings on my face. My left eye is not quite swollen shut, but I don't want anything touching my forehead. So, I pulled out this bonnet that belonged to my Great Grandmother who lived in this house before me. She gave it to my mother after my parents moved back to this town. She couldn't believe mother didn't own a bonnet. My mother is not the bonnet type, so she packed it away. When we moved into this house she gave me the bonnet to complete the circle, so to speak. I'm not bonnet material either, so I packed it away for safe keeping. Today, I unpacked it because I didn't want to wear my very fashionable straw gardening hat. Wow! I loved wearing it and understand why my great grand mother was stunned that my mother planned to garden without one. The huge bib keeps the sun and glare at a minimum and the little flap keeps the insects off the sweat. All this, in a lightweight, barely noticeable package. It didn't even fall off when I leaned over to pick this "mess" of beans.

The older people in the community call any just picked and on the way to the table vegetables a "mess." While growing up here I never thought about it being an odd way to refer to vegetables, even though my mother never said it. Once I left and was misunderstood a few times, I tried to erase "mess" from my vocabulary along with "fixin' to." Later, when researching something else I found that "mess" was from Middle English meaning a serving of food which explains everything. My little niche of Mississippi has an old history. Until recently there were no new immigrants and the swamps and roads kept the area somewhat isolated. The further off the highway you lived the more of the old dialect you kept. Now with television(cable and satellite), better roads, cars, and people marrying outside the community, most of the old ways are gone. But today, I wore a hundred year old bonnet and picked a mess of beans.


Susan said...

I loved this one. I didn't know you had the bonnet and wish I could have seen you in it.... I just cant imagine. When are the mess of blackberries coming in?

wisteria said...

You may borrow it to wear while gardening. I could see you with your heels, skort, lipstick, and this bonnet traipsing about your yard weeding. I assure you that I only wore it behind the fence, so there were no prying eyes. I might wear it, again, but probably not. I'm just a bit self conscience.

Black berries won't be long, but everything not on the spring-stream will be too bitter. I tasted one yesterday at the gap and I had to spit. No rain makes for bitter wild berries.