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Crevolyn Wiley: No teen girl wants to pick corn, but the payoff is sweet
Lessons from daddy cultivate appreciation for farmers
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I’ve had many jobs over the years but one I don’t miss at all is the corn-picking job I was assigned as a teenager.

Apparently, my parents thought a good way to keep a girl out of trouble during those long summer days was to put her in rows of corn.

My grandparents had some property where my parents would plant a garden every summer. So with the responsibility of having a driver’s license came the opportunity to pick corn.

I remember my daddy saying, “I’m paying for your car, your gas and your insurance, and all you want to do is ride around town, go to the lake and sit at the Dairy Queen.”

Well, yes. Isn’t that every teenager’s summer agenda? Well, at least in the 1970s, it was.

And then he would follow that with, “I do believe you need to contribute to the cause, sweet girl.” My daddy had a way of ending every request to me with a loving sentiment. I guess he thought that might soften the blow of what I thought was the worst job in the world. It didn’t.

So as soon as the corn was ready to pick, I’d drive Daddy’s pickup truck to the garden and start picking, just throwing the ears in the bed of the truck.

It was so hot and humid, there were flying varmints everywhere, and if there was ever an ear with a worm, I would scream and throw it as far away as possible. I guess you can imagine I was quite a pleasant person during this whole experience.

Now that 40 or so years have passed since my corn-picking days, I can reflect and see the good in it. A work ethic was instilled at an early age by my parents.

I’ll admit I was and still am a bit of a girly girl, but that didn’t matter if corn needed to be picked. Princess or no princess, getting my hands dirty didn’t matter.

It was a job that had to done and I was able-bodied so there was no discussion about whether I would do it.

I learned that there was no job too small or too menial. If it needs to be done, do it. Something else I learned was that there were benefits of my labors; in this case, sweet corn for supper. Biting into those ears with butter running down my chin sure did taste good.

This experience early in life instilled in me a great appreciation for the farmers who feed us. The work they do is long and hard; and they take great risks working with nature.

So when we are celebrating our nation’s birthday with this Red, White and Blueberry Cheesecake Pie, I will be thankful; thankful for our country and thankful for our farmers.

Red, White and Blueberry Cheesecake Pie

Ingredients:

1½ cups ground graham cracker crumbs

1/3 cup sugar

8 tablespoons butter, softened

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

2 cups fresh blueberries, divided (1 cup in batter and 1 cup to decorate)

1 cup strawberry jelly

Directions:

Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter until well blended. Press mixture into an 8- or 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 375 degrees for 7 minutes. Cool.

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs until well combined. Fold in 1 cup of blueberries. Pour filling into crust.

Bake at 350 degrees until set, 40 to 50 minutes. To prevent the crust from over-browning, gently cover pie with foil for the last 25 minutes of baking. Cool completely on a wire rack.

In a small bowl, beat jelly until smooth; spread over cheese filling.

Arrange 1 cup blueberries on top in a star pattern.

Crevolyn Wiley is a Gainesville resident with her first published cookbook “Cooking with Crevolyn” available at J&J Foods. 

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