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Ode to a Forty-Five Year Old String Bean January 23, 2024

string bean

In first grade, we did a science experiment where we turned ordinary looking beans into bam-wham-zam! plants.  Those plants, you might be surprised to learn, grew long string beans on them that contained—will wonders never cease—beans that looked exactly like the beans we started with.  The circle of life, boys and girls, a whole two decades before the Lion King hit theaters.[1]

My plant, grown in the same year the Dixie Solo cup was patented[2], and therefore grown in a paper cup[3], grew tall and spindly and produced only one bean.  I was so proud of this bean.  I would not put it in my book bag.  I would not let it out of my sight.  I clutched it in my fist and would not let go for the entire dismissal process, nor for the forty-five minute bus ride home.

By the time I got home, my hand had cramped around the bean and I could not move my fingers.  It scared me.  My mother pried my fingers off the bean and laid it on the counter.  “Do you want to eat it?”

Eat it?  The thought horrified me.  Why would I want to eat it?  If I ate it, it would be gone.  Why would I have spent so much time creating it if I was just going to crunch it between my teeth and destroy it?  I don’t remember my mother’s reaction, but I do remember that I wouldn’t let anyone touch it and eventually it turned brown and started to smell and got thrown out.

This is a ridiculous pattern of behavior that I have taken with me into adulthood.  For example: I love pickles.[4]  I don’t know if this is genetic, as my mother had been known to eat an entire jar of pickles at a sitting; or a learned behavior, as my mother had been known to eat an entire jar of pickles at a sitting; or an ethnic thing, since I am a purebred Ashkenazi Jew and we pickle darn near everything.[5]  Anyway, one day, my husband, in a fit of sweetness[6] saw a pickle-in-a-pouch and got it for me to keep on my desk in case I wanted a snack.[7]  That pickle will likely sit in its pouch on my desk until an asteroid destroys the earth because something in my head associates the eating of that pickle with the destruction of the sentiment that brought that pickle to my desk.

I know.  It’s pathological.

There’s nothing logical about this.  I’m the kind of person who uses her good china because I don’t believe in having nice things and not using them.  What’s the point?  Mike bought me that pickle because he knew a pickle would make me happy and there’s only so happy it can make me sitting hermetically sealed in a pouch on my desk.  How dumb would it be if I let it rot like that stupid string bean way back in the first year of the Carter administration? 

Maybe toys in their original box are worth more money on the collector’s market.  I don’t know.  Toys in the box don’t get their paint worn off or their parts broken.  But the children who play with their toys have more fun.  And the children who eat their vegetables – including the string beans – grow up big and strong. 


[1] Yes.  I am old.  I am now old enough that the grandparents in tv shows and novels are my age.  Shut up.

[2] Like I said: old.

[3] My elementary school was not likely to get ahold of such new and exciting technology as a disposable plastic cup.

[4] I promise you this is going somewhere non-pregnancy related.

[5] Even fish.  Seriously.  Pickled herring.  Freaking FISH pickles.  And they’re good.  Especially with onions.  But not for the weak.

[6] Or saltiness

[7] My love language is feeding people.  So when people feed me, it’s like double love.

If you enjoyed this and want to read more like it, visit Lori on Twitter or on Facebook or read her award winning books.  You can order her novella, “Broken Things”, by clicking here.  The audiobook can be found on Audible or iTunes.  Look for her novel “Devil’s Defense” coming in November 2024 from She Writes Press.

Ode to a Forty-Five Year Old String Bean

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Ode to a Forty-Five Year Old String Bean

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Lori Duff

Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side.  Her latest book, "If You Did What I Asked in the First Place" was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.

Ode to a Forty-Five Year Old String Bean January 23, 2024

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