Oh, yes, that’s me. A little nutty to be sure, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.
But, I don’t intend to bore you today with stories about me. Instead I want to tell you a little bit about a special holiday that’s celebrated today.
It’s PECAN Day!
Indeed. Today we celebrate the delicious, sweet, nutty taste of one of America’s favorite nuts. It happens to be a nut with which I’m very familiar. Living here in Missouri…well, let me just share with you a few places where you can get pecans:
Do you see a pattern here? Now, actually, I don’t live all that close to Brunswick, but I do know it well. I also know the tiny little town of Dewitt, where you’ll find:
If you broswe around a bit, you’ll find mention of pecans raised and sold in other towns located in Chariton County, Missouri, including the county seat, Keytesville and Dalton. And if you happen to visit the website for the town of Brunswick, you’ll find it has a separate tab just for talking about pecans and where to buy them. The town also holds an annual Pecan Festival in October.
BRUNSWICK – PECAN CAPITAL OF MISSOURI
Most of you probably know that I lived with my grandfather when I was growing up. Although we lived in the town of Excelsior Springs, he was raised in Chariton County. He went to a small school in DeWitt, and eventually met and married a beautiful young woman from nearby Dalton. His brothers and his sister lived in the same area, some in Brunswick, some in Keytesville, and some in a tiny little spot on the map called Indian Grove. I spent many summers on the farm, always enjoying the fresh pecans from the surrounding pecan groves.
In fact, pecans were part of my own family history. My great-grandfather, Oscar Grotjan, owned a large tract of land in Chariton County. Lewis and Clark actually visited the site in 1804, and it came to be known as “The Cut-Off” — because of the way the river wound around it.
An industrious German, my great-grandfather turned the lake and surrounding property into a recreational area. This was in the “roaring 20s”, and the Grotjan Cut-Off as it was then called was billed as one of the “nicest and most popular resort areas in Northern Missouri”.
By the time I was born, my great-grandfather was very old, and the old “Grotjan Cut-off” resort was no more. Gone were the boats, the cabins, the picnics and summer dances — although I did hear many stories of the resort and always wished I could have seen it as it was.
Throughout my childhood, the “Cut-Off” was a successful family enterprise for another reason. Yep. You guessed it. Pecans. I still remember the excitement after harvest time when my great-grandfather passed out checks to the family members. His children all got a nice share of the profits. So did his grand-children. Unfortunately, great-grandchildren only got pecans, but that’s all right. I happen to love pecans.
Just so you know, even though today is Pecan Day, there’s another day coming up next month. It’s National Pecan Day, which is always celebrated on April 14. April has been designated as “Pecan Month”, so having Pecan Day in that month makes more sense than having it in March, but pecans are tasty enough to deserve two days, don’t you think?
By the way, there’s only one nut tree that’s native to North America. Want to take a guess which one it is?
So, when I say I come from a nutty family, I speak the truth. Now, let’s celebrate today by enjoying a few of those hard-to-crack nuts. More trivia. The name pecan comes from an Algonquin word meaning “hard to crack”.
Then, we’ll celebrate again next month…and don’t forget the festival in October! Maybe I’ll see you there in Brunswick.