Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sprigs: No Sour Grapes

Because Bill captured the squirrel king and banished him, we get to enjoy the grapes this year.

So I take a grape break every time I'm in the yard. I stand at the bush and pick just one at a time, the fattest, south facing ones, because they've soaked up the most sun.  The skin is dusky, the flesh golden. 

It's warm in my mouth. I savor the smell and intense flavor. 

They're old fashioned Concords, with big seeds and tough, bitter skin. So I have to concentrate while eating them, straining the sweet pulp through my teeth, spitting out what's not edible. 

The first bite transported me more than half a century to southern Missouri.   

As children, my sister and I spent a week with  my great Uncle Elmer and Aunt Jesse. He was a tall thin man. It seemed to me he never changed his clothes, although the short sleeve button-down shirt was always sharply pressed, with a cigar sticking out of the pocket. The brown trousers had one knife pleat and were cinched with a brown leather belt.  Whenever he walked out the door, he grabbed his woven straw fedora hat. 

When my great aunt got tired of us, she sent us outside with Elmer. He took us to the garden. We picked a few beans, tucked a couple of tomatoes into the sack we made with the hems of our blouses. The concord grape arbor was my favorite spot, because the vines grew up and over the grassy walk. The clusters hung down, but too high for us, so Uncle Elmer would reach up and cut off a bunch with his pocket knife. 

The current grapes bring twice the pleasure because of the memory.

What produce from summer whisks you away to another time and place?

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