We were on a back road. Well, in this part of Sussex County, they're all back roads. You can drive for miles and miles and miles with nothing but corn growing on either side of you. It can feel like a scene out of "Grapes of Wrath".
We had just turned off Daisy Road onto Gum Rd in Dagsboro, about 5 miles from Zion Church Rd, right near Roxana - and my favorite little country church, "The Sanctified Church of Christ" - about 7 miles from our destination in a skilled nursing facility on Fenwick Island and Selbyville.
Jesus wanted a closer look at the corn.
"It's beautiful," he exclaimed on closer examination. "And, brilliant! You know how I supposedly once said, 'In my father's house there are many rooms'?" he asked. "Well, I should have added, "... and a whole lot of different kinds of vegetables.'
"This," he said, "is clearly one is one of God's best efforts."
"Consider," said Flat Jesus, "it feeds people and animals. I don't eat meat (which surprised me), but I understand 'corn fed beef' is absolutely the best. And, it is used to make cornmeal, corn starch, corn syrup, corn oil, grits, and even corn cob pipes. You can also make corn bread, corn pudding and corn pone - or, as they call it in some places, "Johnnycake"."
The guy maybe flat, but he's a veritable font of information.
"And, of course," he continued, "steep corn liquor is the perfect medium in which to grow large quantities of penicillin. Did you know that corn starch is the main ingredient in biodegradable plastic? Corn is a renewable resource, and is seen as a replacement for fossil fuels. But, wait," he said, "There's more!"
"Tea brewed from corn silk is used as a remedy for urinary tract infections, as it has diuretic properties. And, you should know this" he noted with a sober tone but a distinct twinkle in his eye, "whiskey is distilled from corn."
"Why would I know that?" I asked.
"Because you're Episcopalian, right?"
"Well, yes," I said. "What does that have to do with anything?"
"Because," he said, choking on a giggle, "Wherever three or four Episcopalians are gathered, there's always a fifth."
I rolled my eyes. He cleared his throat. We continued.
"I absolutely love tortillas and tacos and fajita. You can also steam it or grill it and just eat corn right on the cob, with butter and salt and pepper. Or, you can cook it and shave the corn off and add it to salads and soups and salsa and casserole dishes."
"And, " he added, "how can anyone watch a movie without pop corn?"
"So, with all those uses of corn," I asked, "Why aren't these farmers millionaires?"
And, Jesus wept.
"You know," he said, wiping his eyes and starting to giggle just a little, "Some of the BEST jokes in the world are described as 'corny'. I mean, they are really the only ones that make me laugh."
"Like what?" I asked.
That was a mistake.
"I'm, I dunno," I said.
"Because the potatoes have eyes and the corn has ears. "
You know, it's hard to argue with Flat Jesus.
Especially since he's gotten famous.