Snapping Green Beans

by John C. Westervelt

Have you snapped green beans lately? Have the children at your house ever snapped green beans?

Recently my neighbor gave me a mess of green beans freshly picked from her garden. The last time I snapped green beans was sixty years ago as a boy. My mother, brother, sister, and I would gather around the newspaper-covered, dining room table. A peck of green beans would be dumped in the center. I would break the tip off of each end before snapping the bean into four or five pieces.

As I began to snap the gift beans, I visualized sitting with my family as a boy. However, this time the house was quiet. My ear recognized that the spoken word "snap" and the sound of the broken bean were an onomatopoeia, a word my junior high English teacher encouraged me to learn, but which was soon forgotten, and only resurrected for this story. My nose sensed a green-bean smell from the minute spray emitted as the fresh bean broke apart.

As a boy, a summer meal was sometimes just a pot of green beans with small potatoes and ham hock. So I decided to go to the store and ask the butcher for a ham hock.

Most of the afternoon was gone by the time the beans were ready to take to my brotherís house where I would join his visiting grandchildren for supper. I suppose if you didnít have an afternoon as I did, you could heat a can of blue lake green beans for supper. If you had eaten my green beans, you would be a little disappointed in the taste of those out of a can.

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