Reflecting on Pecans


My parents were hard-working, resourceful people.  Although I can’t say we lived off the land, we did collect any edibles that nature provided.  Pecans, pears and pomegranates were available to us, so we naturally gathered them.

My sister and I would sell the extra pears and pomegranates on the sidewalk, but the pecans were always kept for our family.

There were many fall afternoons when we would all bundle up and go to the pasture to collect pecans.  My sister and I weren’t so thrilled with the adventure, but we assisted.  My mom would then spend many winter nights picking out the pecans.

My Aunt Pinkie and Uncle Henry in Midland, Texas had a large and prolific pecan tree in their backyard.  Uncle Henry did the collecting, and Aunt Pinkie did the picking.  When I got my first home, Aunt Pinkie would mail baggies of picked pecans to me for cooking.  I did not appreciate these as much as I should have at the time.

My mom would also share pecans with me.  She also used her pecans in her very delicious pecan pies and pecan tassies.

This many pecans gets heavy!

This year we have had a bumper crop of pecans.  Mike and I have been better about collecting them than we have in the past.  And I have been shelling them.

The squirrels have been hard at work collecting and storing the pecans for later use.  We can’t figure out why they break so many open and just take a small bite.  Why not eat the entire thing?  While doing dishes one afternoon, I watched a squirrel go back and forth to the tree, hiding his collected treasures.

I can not sit over a bowl of pecans and not think of my mom and Aunt Pinkie.  It takes so much time to pick them out!  I had no idea what love went into the pecans shared or the pecan dishes prepared.

My mom’s pecan picking paraphernalia.

My utensils for such endeavors are the same ones my mom used.  I have her nut bowl, crackers and picks.  Plus she had added large corsage pins to her arsenal for the finer clean up.  And, I am often sporting stained fingers, just as my mom did.

Each little pecan is so fascinating.  Mike and I were discussing them recently, what a little miracle for trees to grow them. The bark like imprints on the shells, and the way they are perfectly packaged is amazing.

Someday I think it would be nice to have a pecan orchard.  Of course, I would want to name it for my mom and Aunt Pinkie…maybe the Lawrence Girls Pecan Orchard or Jo and Edwina’s Pecans.   I would sell the pecans along with pecan pies and pecan tassies.  Is there a market for pecan butter?

Isn’t it funny how some of the most random things, like pecans, can have such a deep meaning due to happy childhood memories?

The discard pile.

Bonus Information:  Uncle Henry had a useful contraption that assisted him with collecting pecans.  It was made up of a slinky and a broom handle.  I wish I had it for the sentimentality of it as well as its usefulness!  On, I found this collector which works perfectly!

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