YOU - apr 2021 - life in a nutshell - pe

Did you know there are hundreds of different varieties of pecan trees?  In our orchards alone we have over 20 different ones.  For us, the most popular are the Pawnee, Cheyenne, Choctaw, Wichita, Kanza, and Native varieties.  When I was growing up the ones that were requested most were Burkett, Mahan, Stuart, and Western Schley pecans.  Thanks to research aimed at developing pecans that are more drought, disease, and pest resistant, every year new varieties continue to be studied and created for growers to plant and harvest.


Each pecan variety has different characteristics.  The Pawnee is an oval shaped pecan, golden brown, good for baking and eating.  They Cheyenne is smaller and more round in shape, very light in color and some think it has a sweet flavor to it.  The Choctaw is a large pecan that is easy to shell out and has a little drier taste to it but people love it for roasting.  The Wichita is very long and narrow and fills out very tight in its shell thus making it harder to shell out, but its abundance of oil and flavor still make it a top seller. 

I could line up 10 customers and ask them to taste and rank just these four pecans in order of preference and I would be willing to bet very few would order them the same way.  Everyone has different taste buds and taste preferences.  No one is more right or wrong than anyone else; just different.


Pecans fall into other categories are well.  The two broad groupings for pecans you might have heard of are Natives or Papershell.  They can also be categorized by size: mammoth, junior mammoth, jumbo, etc.  Many growers will separate their crop according to what are Number Ones verses Number Twos and so on.  As pecans are run through the shelling process they either come out as halves or pieces.  Even then pieces can be further broken down into large, medium, small, chopped, or meal.


Therefore, a Pawnee pecan could be classified as such:  Papershell, Junior Mammoth, Number One, Half.  But that’s just one of the many combinations it could be.  This one pecan can have many titles but it doesn’t change the fact that the tree the pecan comes from is still a Pawnee pecan tree.


I feel like pecans sometimes because I too can wear many titles.  I have been called:  daughter, sister, mom, boss, woman, divorced, Christian, leader, busy, friend, foe, white, Texan, American, conservative, volunteer, shy, stuck-up, author, fake, obese, ugly, beautiful, arrogant, loving, lazy, hardworking, and a million more.  Some of these titles I can relate to and some I just can’t, but they have all been used to describe me over the last decade or so.  Some have been used as compliments and some have been used as attacks on me as a person.    


Deep down I know that those titles are just describing a portion of who I am or a particular characteristic and perhaps even me in that single moment of time.  They aren’t really me.  Like the Pawnee pecan tree, the fruits of my labor are often what most people see and judge me on but at my roots I am more than just my fruit. 


We all fall into categories from time to time.  Some of those categories are very general and neutral in terms but some can cause quite a stir.  Just this last year it seems like terms such as: Republican or Democrat, black or white, male or female, vaccinated or not vaccinated, mask on or off, and many others have all caused people to stop seeing the person and either like or hate them based on that one characteristic.  But at the root we are all still children of God and the truth is He loves all of us.  God has a lot to say about us and I personally like His categories much better. 


God tells me I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), and that I am clothed in strength and dignity (Proverbs 31:25).  I know I am a child of God (John 1:12) who has been redeemed and forgiven by God’s grace through the death of His son Jesus (Ephesians 1:7).  I have been set free by Christ (Galatians 5:1) and am no longer a slave (to sin) but now I am an heir to God (Galatians 4:7).  I am even worth more than rubies (Proverbs 31:10).  And God reminds me my ultimate destination is not this world because I am a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20).  These aren’t the only things God says about me (and you too) but they are some of my favorites.


I have grown up in the pecan business.  My parents started our family store, The Pecan Shed, when I was two-years-old.  I know more about pecans than I do about most of my family members and close friends.  Other than a few jobs in and right after college, I have only ever worked at the Pecan Shed.  And yet I have a mild allergy to pecans.  I like to joke by saying I won’t eat the profits but the truth is I can’t!  However, I still see the value in pecans and I still appreciate what they bring to the table so to speak even if I can’t have a slice of pecan pie on my plate.  This industry has helped my family be very successful and we are blessed to employ close to 40 people to work alongside of us. 


So to me the Pawnee pecan has another title: nut allergy.  But no worries; pecans and I are still on good terms.  I don’t hold it against the pecan that it doesn’t get along well with my digestive system and that my throat gets real scratchy and I cough a lot every time I even try some of our homemade fudge with nuts inside or a piece of pecan brittle (yum…they are so hard to resist!)  I just go for the cheesecake at family dinners and skip the pecan pie! 


I do have a great recipe for pecan pie if you need it, though. 


Just don’t make me one as a thank you!     

At the Root
by Jill Montz