Life of a Peach
My father’s beans
I’m at the table alone and eating my father’s beans for my dinner. He’s 99 and I’m eating his beans. I don’t care about anything else, I am just so happy for the moment. They’re scarlet runners – the best kind of beans – meaty and sweet, and I’ve got them nestled on top of four potatoes I’ve just pulled from our garden and lightly steamed, and I’ve slathered them with butter and sprinkled them with a shocking amount of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. God, they’re good.
One of my favourite family memories is of my dad, who has always grown beans, with my brother-in-law Billy, sitting around our big black wooden table with a mound of steaming beans picked from the garden just some moments ago and a stack of thickly sliced generously buttered white bread in front of them. There were three other accompaniments: salt and make-you-sneeze white pepper, and of course, beer. Billy’s dead now. We miss him terribly. But I see him in my mind’s eye as if it were yesterday, at the table with my dad eating beans and buttered bread, sipping through foamy white heads on top of golden beer, no sound or interaction just an occasional grunt and nod of the head, but their eyes were smiling.
My father has always eaten an extraordinary amount of vegetables, and many of them homegrown. He reckons that is why he has led such a long, fit and well life. He’s probably right. He’s been right about most things he’s told me and I’m not going to start arguing now.