2008.01.30 Rats and I like peanuts

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

I have found great joy in a bag of peanuts. Great joy and a little trepidation.

My wife bought a 20 oz. bag of Hampton Farms salted and roasted peanuts in the shell. “Goodness grows in North Carolina,” says the state agriculture slogan.

“Remember: small children can choke on peanuts.” No mention that this product may contain peanuts.

It must have been a long time since we had a bag of salted, roasted peanuts because they tasted so darn good. Colleen didn’t want to eat the darker ones for some reason, so I got all of those, too.

It’s been a good week, despite the rubbing of salt in wounds. I get these weird little slits on my right thumb and index finger in the winter—apparently something I inherited from my mother—and it really hurts to crack open those salted shells.

It’s such an odd thing about peanuts that they aren’t nuts. Think soybeans, alfalfa, locust trees. Think legumes—woody, indehiscent legumes. Peanuts are goober peas.

The allergy issue is a serious one for many people. I’ve read that one whiff of peanut dust can cause a fatal reaction. Fortunately, peanut dust doesn’t blow around here. It’s down in Alabama where nearly half of the U.S. crop is grown.

For me, an allergic reaction is not an issue. I have other fears about peanuts and about peanut butter.

The oldest peanut butter manufacturer in the nation, the Krema Nut Company of Columbus, began selling its product exactly 100 years ago. The owner had a catchy slogan: “I refuse to sell outside of Ohio.”

It’s comforting to know that U.S.D.A. standards allow only about 30 insect fragments per 100 grams of peanut butter. That’s probably only about six legs per sandwich, but maybe that’s part of what makes it taste so good. Or maybe it’s rodent hair or feces, but the likelihood of encountering that stuff is only about one in five sandwiches. This sounds rather disgusting, but it’s unavoidable. That and more is in a lot of food.

It’s not the rat poop in peanut butter that worries me, it’s the choking hazard. So many times I’ve quickly packed a peanut butter sandwich when driving off to attend some event or another and I’ve almost gotten a mouthful stuck in my throat.

When it happens, various scenarios run through my mind. Speeding into someone’s driveway, knocking on the door, pantomiming the need for water. Or quickly stopping and melting snow in my hands or lapping up water from a puddle.

With peanuts—like that wonderful bag we ate our way through last week—it’s the rotten peanut that worries me. Remember the song?

“Found a peanut, found a peanut, found a peanut last night.

Last night I found a peanut, found a peanut last night.”

So far, so good.

“Cracked it open, cracked it open, cracked it open last night.

Last night I cracked it open, cracked it open last night.”

Now is when it gets a little troublesome.

“It was rotten, it was rotten, it was rotten last night.

Last night it was rotten, it was rotten last night.”

My mother taught me this song in my preschool years. It made quite an impact. It frightened me. I worried about dying.

Now where were we? Found a peanut, cracked it open, it was rotten.

“Ate it anyway, ate it anyway, ate it anyway last night.

Last night I ate it anyway, ate it anyway last night.

Got sick, got sick, got sick last night.

Last night I got sick, I got sick last night.”

I’m not sure what happens after that. I know there are many variations to the song and I can’t remember just how our family version went.

Called the doctor.

Didn’t answer.

Called the hospital.

Cut me open.

Took the peanut out.

Sewed me up again.

Died anyway.

Now what a thing to be telling a preschool kid. Eat some food you know is bad and end up dead.

You see? There’s much worse in this world than a simple rat’s whisker.

  • Play Practice
    DRAMA—Fayette schools, in conjunction with the Opera House Theater program, will present two plays Friday night at the Fayette Opera House. From the left is Autumn Black, Wyatt Mitchell, Elizabeth Myers, Jonah Perdue, Sam Myers (in the back) and Lauren Dale. Other cast members are Brynn Balmer, Mason Maginn, Ashtyn Dominique, Stephanie Munguia and Sierra Munguia. Jason Stuckey serves as the technician and Trinity Leady is the backstage manager. The plays will be performed during the day Friday for students and for the public at 7 p.m. Friday.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017