An apology to corn

Published 9:48 am Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dear Corn:

I am sorry. I am so sorry. But I want you to know, as I stand here and gaze at this shell of your former self, the pain and misery you have experienced this past month has somehow affected me also! Perhaps it is because of our past.

We started out so well! Both of us had such grand expectations from that initial meeting on that first warm spring day when we gently placed you in the soil and covered you with your favorite blanket of soil.

We watched you — yes we have been watching you — as you started life. You thrilled us when you pushed up through the soil — all on your own — and spread your arms to the sky! It was a glorious day!

We gave you food, baby food, so your first taste would fill your small body with life sustaining nutrients. It was a diet we knew would be good for you. And it was! It made you strong!

We did our best to keep your enemies away. Bugs, pests, grass and weeds. We wanted you to have the whole place to your own. We wanted you to capture all the sunlight and take in all the nutrients and drink in all the water. Because you were special. Oh, so special!

And then the heavens opened up. Down came water! Rich, delicious, satisfying, drenching water! It splattered on your leaves and seeped down into the soil to your feet. You soaked it up! We saw you! You laughed and waved and savored the wetness! And we laughed with you! Oh, such joy!

And then you grew! At a blistering pace, you grew, reaching to the sky! Two, four, six, ten feet tall! Unbelievable! Fantastic! Amazing!

And then it happened. Just when you needed it most, it happened. The heavens closed. The thunderstorms ceased. The water vanished. You started weeping and begging and pleading.

I want you to know, so did we! We asked the only One who had the power. So did our family, friends and neighbors!

But He said no.

So in agony, we watched your arms curl up. Your feet and legs turn brown. We watched as slow death crept up through your entire body and you gasped for breath. We watched as you stood out in unbearable heat and struggled to survive, only to be denied the one thing you needed for survival.

But you gave us what you had. A few kernels.

I want you to know, we will cherish those kernels. I promise you as I stand here today, we will take those kernels — your children — and try again next year. For next year — I am convinced — will be a glorious year.

Goodbye, old friend.

REX ALPHIN of Walters is a farmer, businessman, author, county supervisor and contributing columnist for The Tidewater News. His email address is