Is it the heat in August, or the midday cicadas—grinding, grinding, grinding—that reminds me of the time of year? The horizon, corn pollen and gravel dust, is smudged. This is the first August I can ever remember going outside after lunch to find it refreshing instead of repressing. The sun is as bright as on a crisp fall afternoon and the humidity is nowhere to be found—grinding, grinding, grinding.
I like to hear the corn grow and without the humidity there is nothing from which the growing pains can echo. An ambulance, siren blaring, leaves town. The sirens grow louder until the emergency vehicle turns north on the state highway. The sirens begin to fade.
It has been like this all summer and I am being robbed. I like the heat. It is the humidity and heat that makes my vegetables grow. I have nothing growing in my garden this year. By rights I should be eating okra. I should have so much zucchini I have to feed it to the chickens. I should be looking forward to garden succotash and fried chicken but my lima beans died long ago in the continual down pours of early spring. I should be picking fresh field peas and pole beans but I never even got the baskets down from the cabinet. I should be cutting sweet corn from the cob and freezing it.
I rock gently in an easy chair on the front porch and eat a pimento cheese sandwich. From out across the fields I can hear the announcer for the high school football game calling plays. I think back to all my first days back at school. I feel the butterflies in my stomach, another summer grows quite.
(Makes 2 cups)
3 cups cheddar cheese, grated (about an 8oz. block)
2 teaspoons yellow onion, grated on a micro plane
3 tablespoons jarred pimentos plus 1 tablespoon pimento juice
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Nathan’s mustard
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Tabasco sriracha
1 tablespoon ketchup
fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Place all the ingredients into a mixing bowl. Stir gently with a spoon until everything is combined. Let sit for an hour before serving. Store in the refrigerator tightly covered.