Writer of Soul-Searching Snark

Sweet Taters

I love autumn.  Just love it.  The crisp morning air, the falling leaves (I’m waxing poetic here, so go with me, okay?  I’m aware that the leaves have been falling for months because of the drought,) harvest moons and hearty stews. I missed autumn when I lived in the Arctic. There were a couple of days when the tundra turned red, but it was quickly covered in snow.

It’s such a joy to work outside on a pretty fall day.  Today, we dug sweet taters.  Personally, I detest sweet potatoes. Can’t stand them. Can’t even eat the marshmallows off the top of the casserole. Bleck! Pops  knew I hated them and when I was a kid, he always made me plant them.  How cruel is that?  When  I lived in Kaktovik, I remember getting a box from Pops in the mail. Pops didn’t mail things.  That was always Ma’s department.  So, getting something from Pops was quite exciting

Life in a tiny Inupiaq village in the middle of the Arctic Ocean can be somewhat dreary to say the least. I lived for the mail. OMG. It soooo was freaking exciting to get a box. Since it was from Pops, I knew it was going to be good. I clutched the package to my chest and ran to to the truck. I couldn’t wait to open it.  It was like Christmas Eve.  Do you open the gifts that night or hold out the suspense until Christmas morning?

It didn’t take me long to tear past the brown paper wrapping and rip into the cardboard. Pops sent me something. Oh boy! Oh boy!

Imagine my surprise when I reached into the package and pulled out a giant sweet potato. Yep. That’s right, my father mailed a sweet potato to the Arctic. After phoning him and giving him a piece of my mind–while laughing, of course, I poked some toothpicks into it and grew the prettiest sweet potato vine in Kaktovik, Alaska.

So, as I savored the beautiful fall afternoon digging potatoes with Ma and my other brother Darryl, I smiled and thought of Pops.  I remember people telling me that he’d always be with me. It was little comfort to hear those words, but now I know what they meant and relish those tiny moments when Pops reminds me that he’ll always love me.


Ma and my other brother Darryl hard at work. Hey! Someone had to document the event. That’s work too!

Dig them taters, Bubba!

Yum Yum. Sweet tater pie, anyone?


Now, that’s a tater that would make one heck of a vine, don’t you think?





Comments on: "Sweet Taters" (10)

  1. Your post reminded me of recieving a box in the mail from my dad. I was a counselor at Girl Scout camp. One morning at mail call I got a box from Daddy. Just like you, I was soooo excited. I just knew he’d sent me somthing special, because Mama mailed presents, not Daddy. I ripped open the box and to my horror, I discoved a horse turd! Yep, you heard right. Daddy mailed me horse shit. He said he knew I missed being at home with my horse so he sent me something of King’s, God, I could’ve died. This month is the anniversary of Daddy’s passing. I think he and your Pops are up there laughing their butts off! Thanks for the memory.

    • OMG, Ruth! Our daddies are hanging out in heaven having a blast laughing at our mishaps. Sweet potatoes and horse poop. Who’d think to mail those things other than our fathers?

  2. Bonnie K. Tesh said:

    Pam. I happen to love sweet potatoes, and they are very nutritious. I remember my parents digging them in the fall and storing them in baskets in the basement. They always had a huge garden and truck patch (that term has always intrigued me, sounds like trucks growing out of a patch of ground) and your.pictures brought back sweet memories. Thank you.

  3. That was a beautiful memory, thanks for sharing it 🙂

  4. I’m exceedingly fond of sweet potatoes if baked for a couple hours in a slow oven that really concentrates the flavor. I peel ’em and eat ’em with my fingers just like burritos. But I don’t enjoy the sweet potato smell that lingers through the whole house for days. I favor a return to olden days when the kitchen was in a separate building.

    • Ned, all I can say is “ick.” I don’t know why I’m so anti-sweet potato, but I am. I do like the idea of the kitchen being in a separate building. I might be able to do more baking in the summer if that was the case.

  5. Anonymous said:

    I too like sweet potatoes sans the marshmallows! I’m with nedsleftbrain….I’m much in favor of the “summer kitchen”!

    • Alright then, we have a deal. You can have the sweet potatoes and I’ll take your marshmallows. I can sip on some delicious hot chocolate while you savor the taters!

  6. I LOVE sweet potatoes, but have never made a sweet potato pie. I did, however, make persimmon bread last fall, as my first try using those freebies that grow wild everywhere in our state. Very tasty. I did find a low-calorie, low-fat way to cook the sweet potatoes too. Sweet potato fries in the oven. Use pan spray & bake the fries after shaking the raw, pre-cut potatoes (peeled or unpeeled) in a brown paper bag with spices. Half way through baking, I add brown sugar to the bag of spices, dump the potatoes off the cookie sheet back into the bag and shake again. Return to cookie sheet and finish baking. Yum, Yum. Use your own favorite spices in the mix. I used a little salt & pepper, cilantro, parsley, ginger, nutmeg, cumin, rosemary, and cardamon. Cinnamon would be super, but I’m allergic.

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