I’m reliably informed there are six major types of corn. I live in Iowa now; there are people here who know corn. If they say there are six types, who am I to argue? I suspect they can identify the six types by sight. Or taste. Maybe by smell, I don’t know.

Here are two things I do know: First, one of those six types is sweetcorn. I don’t know how it’s different from the other types, and I don’t care. Second, at some mysterious point in late June or early July pickup trucks loaded with ears of sweetcorn appear parked along streets and roads. Next to the trucks, canopies are set up, under which farm folk can be found lounging on lawn chairs, waiting for customers to buy their corn.

There are lots of customers. Folks turn off the streets and roads, they find a place to park, and they buy that corn, fresh picked that morning. A couple of ears, a half dozen, maybe more if the weekend is coming. Folks debate the easiest way to shuck the corn, they debate the best way to prepare it — boil it, grill it, steam it, nuke it — but there’s almost universal agreement that all you need to eat it is a little bit of salt and a whole lot of butter.

Then one day, all the canopies and pickups and farm folks are gone. Just gone, no notice, no announcement. Just gone. Every year, this happens. The process is as sweet and mysterious as the corn.

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