JUNE:  A MONTH OF STRAWBERRIES & MEMORIES

 

I have a lone strawberry plant in my backyard which is doing its very best to give me the flavor of fresh-picked summer. So far I’ve had 12 berries, but more are on the way. It is a “forever” plant so throughout the next two months, I may find one or two bright red berries every few days to keep  that first warm berry taste in my mouth.

 

When I was a child on Dad’s farm, a few wild berries grew along the driveway. I watched them daily as they blossomed, formed green berries, and gradually turned red enough to pick. Wild berries are small, perhaps the size of my little fingernail, but twice as sweet as cultivated ones. If there were two berries or more, I’d share them with Mom and Dad. That very first taste made all that watching so worth it. It was the promise of more and of a sweet summer.

 

As an adult I continue to cherish the first taste of locally grown berries. Whether from my back yard, the Thursday farmers’ market or those from “pick your own farms,” they are a treasure.

 

When I have a dish of berries, I struggle deciding whether to make a biscuit shortcake, have them in a bowl with sugar, or just sit down and enjoy them one by one. It is a dilemma!

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CELEBRATE MAY DAY TODAY

Celebrate May Day the “Old Fashioned Way.”

Find a nine-inch square of paper. When I was a child we used scraps

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MAY DAY BOUQUET

of wallpaper. Today I chose a piece of colored computer paper

1. Fold it into a triangle

2. With the fold toward you take one of the points and fold it to the middle of opposite edge.

3. Do the same with the other point.

4. Now fold the front flap of the top into the front bottom cup.

5. Poke or punch a hole into the top flap.

Now go outside and find flowers – even dandelions will be pretty. Tuck them into the pocket or cup you have made.

 

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HOW TO FOLD

As children we would hang them on a friend’s door, knock, and then run and hide. The person coming to the door was surprised and hunted down the giver to thank them with a kiss.

* * * * *

You can use this cup for many things. It will hold a drink for a short time.

As a teacher, I always made them for children who lost a tooth at school. It could be safely stored in a lunch pail or coat pocket for the tooth fairy.

Mostly I remember the fun we had making these baskets at school and then going home to search for flowers. I’d beg my mother to let me go down by the creek where I knew the May flowers were in blossom along with purple, white, and yellow violets. I never really went alone because Chum, our cowdog, would not let me. He assumed the duty of protecting me no matter wherever I wandered.

WHERE IS SPRING

 

Icicle lights have hung on the front of my porch since the beginning of Advent. Now they are gone back into hiding for several months. Christmas was four months ago, but the cold weather has remained. The question everyone in the Northeast is asking: When will Spring finally arrive?

My daffodils are up and in blossom, so I feel lucky. On a pleasant day a few weeks ago, I cut and pulled away the dead leaves from last year’s plants. The perennials in my small garden are sending up sprouts and tentative new growth, but they too are longing for warm weather to do their stuff.

The only plants that seem to have no problem are the grass and wild garlic. Of course, I don’t want them where they’ve chosen to grow.

The sky is gray. Where is the sun and warmth we seek?

Know this! It will get hot this summer and we will be moaning about it. It is always safe to complain about the weather. Wait a minute, day, or week—it will change.

 

 

 

 

A BIRTHDAY CALL

April 9 is my childhood friend’s birthday. The date is like a holiday in my mind.

How long we’ve been friends? I don’t know. We lived in farm country. We probably went to the Sanford Methodist Church Sunday school together before we started first grade in the Sanford country school. Neither building exists today. Now we live hundreds of miles from one another with but a few annual contacts.

Yesterday I called to wish her “Happy Birthday.” We laughed about the stuff we did as kids.

She remembered the float we’d built on my dad’s pickup truck. We were 4-H members with my mother as our leader. We couldn’t remember what we did although she thought it had to do with cream cheese and sandwiches. This morning my 4-H Achievement book, I’ve kept from those years, yielded pictures of us in white uniforms and caps.

Somehow it must have demonstrated the 1946 Labor Day Parade theme Food for Europe. Our float placed third.

 

 

The pictures were taken in front of my house. The float was done totally in green and white.

A LETTER TO A GRANDSON

This is from a letter written by my husband. It is my Valentine gift to you.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

My Dear Grandson,

You were born on the 28th of August 2006, just three days ago. You will not read or understand what I am writing for a good number of years. And by the time you read this, I will be buried, having lived a good, rich exciting and satisfying life.

What can I possibly write at this time that will make any sense to you as you begin to read? What would I most want you to understand, realize, inherit, or discover? I have no profound wisdom, though I’ve enjoyed learning all my life.

I also hope that perhaps you will be able some day to read some of my journals, poetry, and essays. I have written much, published little, and never had the discipline to write a book.

I want you to know how important love is in our lives, your life. Know without question that you are loved even before birth. Your parents, my son and his lovely, intelligent, creative wife, your mother, loves you more deeply than can be expressed in these words. And as an old popular song sung by Nat King Cole many years ago, “The Greatest thing you’ll every learn, is just to love and be loved in return.”

So, to love and be fully, unconditionally, continually without having to constantly earn that love, is about as wise as I can because that has been the experience of your father’s parents.

At another time he wrote:

(Parenthetical thoughts)
Monday, February 21, 2011
(I just took a writing break and sat in the other room leafing through some of my writing from past Februaries in the South. I’ve decided to take up brick making. I’ll imprint my words on bricks, fire them, and then bury them in abandoned blue stone quarries and let them be discovered some later centuries by anthropologists seeking evidence of our decline as a world power.)