I’m constantly finding my new neighborhood to be a bit nicer than I had imagined. When I signed the lease, I didn’t even realize that just around the corner I can walk to a little market that has decent prices. I’m living out in the county now instead of on Bainbridge Island, and the prices show it. Most things are about 4% higher than Walmart, which isn’t bad.
My car has been in the shop ever since I moved in, so I’ve been going everywhere on foot or by public transportation. The transfer station is about a mile from my apartment and the busses leave there every hour, so with a little planning I don’t waste too much time. The bus-riding populace has an alarmingly high percentage of missing teeth, but otherwise they’re mostly good and friendly folks. Not friendly on purpose like on Bainbridge, just genuinely friendly when the need to interact arises.
I walk to the market frequently and buy just what I can carry. Early this morning I went to buy coffee and some vegetables. As I was looking over the Romaine lettuce, I suddenly noticed that they had fresh turnip greens! I hadn’t seen fresh turnip greens since I grew them myself abouit 25 years ago in the back yard. Some stores here carry them canned, but the sodium content is too high for my blood pressure.
Turnip greens are my favorite vegetable. I couldn’t stand them when I was a small child, but between the ages of 10 and 13 my tastes shifted dramatically. Perhaps I had finally overdosed on sugar, but I acquired a taste for many foods that I had detested earlier: olives, butterbeans, squash, and turnip greens. I like them with ketchup, but when my grandmother served them with vinegar and onions that wasn’t bad either.
My father told the story of when his father was a young man, back in the early 1930s. Although my grandfather, his father, my father, me, and my first son are all named Sterling Wyatt Camden, we’ve all gone by different names at different times to keep it all straight. My grandfather went by Sterling, and his father was known as Wyatt. Wyatt had bought a WWI surplus Jenny in a crate for Sterling to go barnstorming. On one such journey around the country, Sterling had been repairing his Jenny while standing on some old crates to reach the engine. The crates slipped, Sterling fell, and slit his wrist on the cowling of the Jenny. The wound, not helped by his poor barnstorming diet, nearly bled him to death. But he survived, and made his way back home to recuperate.
On his first evening back at home, Sterling sat at the big diningroom table, while his mother prepared for dinner. She came from the kitchen with a large serving bowl full of turnip greens and set them on the table, then returned to the kitchen to get something else. Sterling had never liked turnip greens, but when she returned they were all gone. Apparently, his body cried out irresistibly for the iron and Vitamin K.
Tonight, I washed the greens and put them in a big pot full of water. I sliced up some bacon and onions and added them to the water. Just as it was beginning to smell wonderful, I remembered: I need ketchup! So, I turned the greens down low and got ready to walk back to the store.
When I opened my front door, I found that the postman had left a package outside. I took it inside and opened it, and what do you suppose it contained? Honey buns! My good friend Justin James had read my earlier post, and shipped them all the way from South Carolina. I sat down and ate one right away. It tasted just as good — maybe better — than when I was a kid. Thanks, Justin!