Every year for many years, we could count on my parents to stock our pantry with cases of home-grown pickled asparagus due to their abundant asparagus field and their talents in the kitchen. Even if we told them we still had plenty, my dad would say something like, “It will keep for years, and you never know when you’ll need it.” That was my dad. My mom, too, but mostly my dad.
The asparagus crop of 2019 did not care that my dad died, it did not care that the crop would produce much more than we could use. My mom tried to keep up, and she did pickle some, but being only six months after my dad had passed, she was still a mess.
The fridge was full, the pressure cooker was cooking, piles of asparagus covered the counters, and pounds a day kept getting cut.
My brother had given so much to the neighbors, that when he tried to give them more, they sighed and said, “I still have plenty from the last time you came over!”
“What are we going to do with all this asparagus,” I exclaimed, sometime after I had arrived on April 19th, 2019.
“We can have an asparagus festival,” my brother said jokingly, at which I heartily laughed.
We had recently and frequently discussed how the small towns of Hastings and Waurika have so many festivals. It took us by surprise, I guess you could say, to hear about a different festival every other day. The fire department’s fish fry, the Sorosis Club’s fundraiser, the high school band’s breakfast, and that was just in one week. Every week last spring, it seemed , was like that. The all-day long and into the night event, “Meet Me Downtown,” was my favorite. I won $100 MasterCard gift card playing bingo that night, courtesy of FFNB.
So when my brother said, “Have a festival,” it was really for the chuckle. But I was like, “Yeah, let’s do!” My mom was like, “No, I do not want to do that.”
Once I convinced her that it wasn’t going to be an actual festival, it was just going to be me handing out bundles of asparagus after the Wednesday lunch at the Senior Citizens Center, she consented as much as I could expect her to. Oh, and I threw in a promise to do my best not to embarrass her.
So we, my brother and me, with our mom’s consent and our dad’s blessing from heaven, held “The First Annual Asparagus Festival” on May 1, 2019, and it was a hit!
Thirty bundles, almost a half-pound each, I gave away in less than a half-hour. “You know,” my brother (the idea-man) said, “saying it is a ‘First Annual’ denotes there will be a second.”
“Yep,” I concurred, “I guess we’ll just have to make it an annual thing!”