Pigeon Pea Clan

Pigen Pea FlowerWhen DH moved in to the house in 2006, my Dad and his two siblings stopped by for a visit. While I poured steaming coffee into cups and placed them on the dinning room table, Tati walked into the kitchen and stared out the window looking at the back yard.  “You should grow pigeon peas”.  Tati is my oldest Aunt. The oldest of the 12 children my grandmother Delia had during the 1930’s and 40’s. Lots of uncles and aunts; all whom I only know by their nicknames. “Just throw them on the ground. They don’t need any attention and they love dry land.” For someone whom I never saw tend a garden or grow food, she seemed to know a lot.

Years later while browsing on Ancestry.com, I found a couple of 1910 census documents that looked like my great grandparents but I wasn’t sure. So I asked my Dad during our weekly phone calls and it turns out it was them. Not only that; I found out they were the only ancestors in that generation to read, write and own land. “That’s nothing” answered Dad confiming the amount of land on the census document. “My grandmother was a ‘hacendada’ (farm owner), but her husband lost most of it gambling. “What did they grow?” I asked. “Pigeon peas” he replied. “Of the many Toro families in Lajas, our family is know as ‘el clan de los gandules'(the pigeon pea clan).”

Sometimes I sit in my back yard and think about Alejandrina and wonder about the details of her life back then. What was her daily routine? How did she mange once the farm was gone? What did she think of grandma Delia when her son Arquimides decided she was the one?
Pigeon Peas
Last Saturday I went out in the yard. The sun was shining but it didn’t burn. An ocasional breeze would go by swaying the pigeon pea branches like dancing arms.  I water and fertilize the bushes with loving care.  I patiently wait until November for the early Christmas gift they bring.  DH and I sit in the back yard and remember growing up in Puerto Rico while we shell the the harvest.  On Christmas Eve, the roasted pork steps aside and gives the place of honor on the table to the rice and pigeon peas.  Of all the things I grow, the pigeon peas have the most meaning to me.

Pigeon Peas behave like perennials and go dormant during the frost, but come back again in the spring.  Like me, they feel right at home here in Central Florida.  I might not have a hacienda, but I can proudly say I’m a landowner.  It is one of the dreams that we all collectively share in this country.  I’m sure Alejandrina would approve.

What do you grow that is part of your family tradition? trees? flowers? heirloom veggies?  What are you doing to pass them to the next generation?

Linking to Transformation Thursday

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: