I usually equate the term “smothered in onions” with some type of meal. As a matter of fact, if you Google the term “smothered in onions” you’ll find countless recipes that usually contain pork, beef or chicken that are just lathered from head to toe with our eye watering friends. I’m not here to talk about that though. No, I’m here to tell the sad story of one Jake Pardell of Vidalia, GA and how he met his untimely demise.
The Pardell family farm was first homesteaded by Jake’s granddaddy, one Rufus Pardell back in the early 1900’s. He started by growing the normal crops one would need in order to feed his family but his health began to fail and he passed on sometime in the late 1920’s (records are sketchy for that time) as he was tending his field. This left the farm in the hands of his oldest son, Jake Pardell.
Family members and other neighbors were sorta surprised at Jake’s inheritance since it was known throughout that area that Jake was one of the laziest “sums of bitches” in the entire state of Georgia.
As it turns out, for a time, he was also one of the luckiest.
Jake didn’t have the gumption to plant the variety of crops his pappy had. Nope, Ole’ Jake had one thing on his mind and that was to make life as simple and easy as possible and the answer to that was to be found deep below the ground in the fertile soil of Vidalia.
That answer was onions.
It seems that for some reason the soil conditions throughout Vidalia and surrounding counties somehow produced an onion that was much sweeter than those found anywhere else in the world. Jake took notice of this and plowed the rest of his field under and from that day on his life was dedicated to onions.
Jake wanted to keep his secret to himself and it wasn’t long before he took a loan out from the local bank and began buying up surrounding farms in the neighboring counties. His strategy worked and within a few years Jake was soon known as the “King of the Onion Fields” as word began to spread and the popularity of the “Vidalia onion" began to spread across the land.
As the years wore on and his fortune grew Jake got tired of doing all of the manual labor that came with harvesting his crop. He began to hire a string of migrant workers to do the work for him and it wasn’t long before you could find fifty or so men doing the backbreaking work of digging up the onions and tossing them into a pickup truck for later packing and shipping to grocery stores around the land.
One day, Jake decided to take a survey of his land. He started out alone with only a jug of moonshine to keep him company. As the day grew (as well as his consumption of the “white lightnin”) Jake decided to take himself a little nap in the back of one of the old pickup trucks and it wasn’t long before he was passed out cold. The next day workers arrived before dawn and began the usual process of digging up the onions and just tossing them in the back of the truck.
Nobody knows for sure if the workers noticed him or not. If they did, they weren’t saying but it wasn’t long before the truck was filled to the brim with around 3,000 pounds of onions and headed off down the highway to deliver their load.
Poor drunk ass Jake never knew what hit him. His lifeless body wasn’t discovered until most of the onions were unloaded for sorting and bagging at the local warehouse.
He wasn’t even alive to see the passing of the “Vidalia Onion Act of 1986” which officially trademarked the term and limits the production of the onion to certain areas within the state of Georgia. To further add insult to injury and add to his legacy, the legislature of the Great State of Georgia declared the “Vidalia onion” as the official state vegetable in 1990.
Somewhere, either Jake is either smiling to beat the band about his good fortune during his time here on earth or crying copious tears about the strange circumstances surrounding his demise.
On a final note, the term “smothered in onions” also has another, more seedier connotation. The folks over at Urban Dictionary have defined it as:
"smothered in onions: The act of going down on a woman who doesn't invest too much in to vaginal hygiene."
But that’s another story for another time.