Mississippi August

A Personal Narrative

“One more bucket of ears and you can go inside,” Momma said. Those days spent picking corn in midday Mississippi August heat are ones that I remember well. I vividly recall my toes digging into a mix of decomposing potato roots and freshly toiled soil, the weight of the bucket I lugged behind me, and Momma hollering at me to finish the row of corn I’d already spent an hour on. Why are these early days a pristine memory, still freshly ingrained in my mind? Virginia Woolf stated, “I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realizes an emotion at the time.” Many people forget the specifics of their childhood, as have I, but a handful of Mississippi August days have stuck in my mind.

If I close my eyes, I can still feel the fine mist of rain blanketing the freshly sown watermelon seeds and hear my grandfather sloshing behind me in his ragged rain boots. I loved late summer, not for the back to school commercials and uniform shopping, but for the advice my grandfather graced me with as we picked snap beans and green tomatoes. “Sometimes parents aren’t right, you know.” One look at my face and he knew exactly what I was upset about, without me uttering a word. He was always attentive as I rattled on about...

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