Monday, August 18, 2008

Corn Early Warning System

Got a call this morning from a friend warning me that decorative corn had been planted along the north side of the library on campus. Good thing the early warning system is working, that is one more place not to walk or bike. I think that pollination should be over by this late in August, but pure corn just flat out gives me the creeps these days.

She just returned from a vacation in the Midwest and had been thinking about me while driving through the miles and miles of cornfields. Thinking, good thing I wasn't with them! We visited family in Pennsylvania last month where they grow plenty of corn, but fortunately for me the cornfields behind my family home were sold years ago and are now part of a development. I am in favor of preserving farmland and openspace, but in this one case I was really happy not to have to worry about corn pollen during my vacation.

That reminded me of a funny moment a few weeks ago in our neighbors courtyard. We were cooking out with them and their visiting niece and nephew who are all very sensitive and thoughtful about my allergy. The kids make lots of silly jokes and bring me invisible "corn-free corn" to eat with the safe food I bring for me to eat. While we were eating, new neighbors came out and asked M if they could use his grill to to grill some corn. M explained that they would have to wait till we were finished and gone from the courtyard because of my severe corn allergy, but that they were welcome to use it then. The new guy didn't seem to get the seriousness of the allergy because he took out an ear of of the bag to show us it was still in the husk, I guess he wanted us to see that the kernels wouldn't touch the grill. He was totally oblivious to the immediate reactions -- shocked looks on everyone's face, the fact that I was covering my nose and mouth while he wiggled it around. Then things happened very quickly; M, who has lightening reflexes (former boxer & MMA competitor 52-2 record) jumps up, puts himself between Mr. Corn and the rest of us and starts backing him up while talking to him very calmly about how corn is dangerous to people with corn allergies and that he needs to put it away, NOW. Like the poor man was waving around a loaded gun. I think he finally got it. M was certainly my hero that evening.

It's good to know that I have an corn early warning system. It is good to have friends who really have your back.

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