Days Gone By - stories from the past

AUTHOR SUNDAY – The peanut patch, coco-cola and snakes – a way to spend the summer day

The Peanut Patch


Randal Champion

submitted by Jean Butterworth

Dad planted peanuts every year on our farm in Tuscaloosa County. When I was very young an incident happened that I would never forget. When the peanuts matured in the fall they were pulled up and stacked around posts to dry.peanut plant

On a cold Saturday morning, the family began to pick the peanuts off the vines stacked around a post.  I went over after the peanuts were removed from a post and started moving the post in a circular motion, just something to do.  I looked down and noticed a snakehead between my feet looking up at me!  I gave a yell and took off as fast as I could across the peanut patch, and yet to be dug sweet potato patch.

I received some odd look from my family members.  I explained what I had seen, but they looked and saw no snake.  No one believed me.  My Dad used a hoe to dig around the post and low and behold a copper head snake rolled out.  My mother made a loud cry as dad killed the snake and then we resumed picking off the peanuts from the vines.peanuts roasting

Peanuts are delicious when placed in a wood-burning oven to roast. Mother would peek in the oven often and pick out one to test for just the right taste. Later, we would put the roasted peanuts in individual brown paper bags and save to eat at the Friday night high school foot ball games. Of course, we would share with our friends. The remaining peanuts, raw or roasted would be packaged and sold at the curb market in town.

My family preferred roasted over boil peanuts, but some families really do like boiled peanuts. I always notice the hand made signs on the road to the beach advertising, “Boiled Peanuts.”

cokeAnother trick to enjoying peanuts, if you didn’t have home grown peanuts, was to stop at the local service station and buy a small pack of salted peanuts and pour them into a cold glass bottle of Coke Cola from the drink box cooler. This combination was delicious!  Try it sometimes.


Chinaberries and Other Memories of Alabama by Jean Butterworth


About Randal Champion

Randal Champion is retired and is a resident of Tuscaloosa County.  He attended Tuscaloosa County High School and received his undergraduate education from the University of Alabama.  He was employed as a high school biology teacher in Mobile. He retired from the State of Alabama Medicaid Agency.

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