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Katy Burns: Forget Trump; corn is coming!



Monitor columnist
Sunday, July 16, 2017

Let us rejoice! Finally, there’s something on which all sides of the political conversation can agree, to wit: Boys will be boys. Even 39-year-old boys.

Donald J. Trump Jr. – a “young man” cruelly deceived by the villainous Russians, according to his father, and a misguided “rookie” to a myriad of GOP soothsayers – didn’t know any better when he met with a Russian lawyer deeply connected to Vladimir Putin to dish the dirt on his father’s presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton. He was . . . confused. In over his head.

It’s a relief to us all to know that the scion (just a stripling who won’t even turn 40 until December) was just naïve and confused, not deliberately trying to connive with a hostile foreign government to undermine an American presidential election. Whew!

And could this glimpse of the gene pool perhaps be a sign that we should not anticipate a Trump political dynasty? I sure hope so. Because right now – and I think I can speak for a lot of us – it’s a whole lot nicer just anticipating the season’s first local sweet corn.

Yes, it’s just about here! Butter-and-sugar corn, elegant Silver Queen, fat and juicy bright yellow varieties. All just waiting for us, snug in their fresh husks still damp with dew and stacked in piles at the farm stands, ready to be shucked, dunked briefly in boiling water and then slathered with butter – fresh sweet cream butter, never that fake stuff – and devoured while a mixture of butter and corn juice dribbles down our chins.

Uh, I’m sorry. Was I drooling? It happens every year about this time. The first corn is as important as the first lovely little local strawberries glistening in their boxes on the kitchen cupboard, perfuming almost the whole house with their unmistakable aroma. I’ll never understand why some brilliant perfumer didn’t corner the scent market by inventing a strawberry fragrance – or, more elegantly, eau de fraise.

So we’ve had strawberries and (of course) fresh peas and raspberries, and they’re just a lead-up to the cornucopia to come, led off by the lovely new sweet corn we will feast on for close to three months if we’re lucky.

Northern New England may not have a long growing season, but it sure is an intense one, with everything from asparagus, broccoli and brussels sprouts to leeks, peaches, melons, peppers, tomatoes and, finally, an explosion of zucchini that growers have to resort, eventually, to leaving on unsuspecting victims’ doorsteps in the dark of night.

This year promises to be particularly horticulturally spectacular, given the deluge after several years of increasing drought. And once-simple farm stands are turning into palaces of produce, including more and more which – in a nod to busy lives – offer already prepared foods along with all that raw stuff.

While the fruits and veggies are enjoying their brief but spectacular season in the sun, so are our lakes, mountains, forests and even our tiny seashore, beaches packed with bodies and clam shacks doing a bustling business. New Hampshire may well offer four seasons of recreation, but it’s in our short summer and early fall that the place pulses with activity.

Lakes, depending on their size, sport flotillas of everything from canoes and kayaks to elegant small yachts. Cruise boats crammed with sightseers – including lots of Granite Staters exploring their own home – ply their waters, and people flock to their beaches.

The White Mountain National Forest swarms with summer hikers, and some of the more accessible mountains – even forbidding Mount Washington – at times seem to have pedestrian traffic jams.

And a lot of our small towns are dressed up in their summer finery, each eager to share its summer delights – an ice cream and hot dog stand, or a small museum featuring perhaps a founding father’s stuffed bird collection – with visitors. And a lot of us will be among them. Why not? Otherwise, what’s the point of living in this beautiful state in a particularly lovely summer?

After all, you never know what you might find if you get out and explore. Check out Warren, with the genuine Redstone Rocket, a relic of the early U.S. space program, soaring over the town green. Or check out Wolfeboro’s tiny Libby Museum, displaying the amazing collection of Henry Libby, a 19th century dentist, whose treasured artifacts include a necklace of monkey teeth and a fairly creepy pair of Egyptian mummy hands.

This is a lovely time of year in a lovely place, and there is a wealth of stuff to those of us privileged to live here to enjoy – and be grateful for.

At least for a little while, let’s allow the Trumpster saga and the whole Washington craziness to disappear in the rearview mirror and enjoy life here and now. Eat some fresh sweet corn!

(“Monitor” columnist Katy Burns lives in Bow.)