Friday, October 17, 2008

Raspberry Memories

Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8

I had a bowl of fresh raspberries this morning. And when I took the very first bite of the little red fruit suddenly I was eight-years old again. I could see my younger self walking across the gravel road outside my grandparent’s cabin in the Wisconsin Northwoods toward a long patch of wild raspberries. We'd pick them and eat them with cereal or right from the vine when we just couldn't wait. I can still remember those long summer days of freedom and adventure--just me and my two sisters at my grandparent’s lake cottage every two weeks, every summer. Bliss!

I remember swimming in the lake until "our lips turned blue" as grandma would say. Walking through the woods with my nature-loving grandfather was a given; he’d point out different kinds of birds, plants and animals. He knew a lot and longed to share his knowledge of the land with us, but most of it didn't sink in. We were kids; we just wanted to have fun. However, I’ll never forget one important plant, the wintergreen. When you snap the firm leaf in two and it smells like gum! That one I can identify!

We'd take drives in the pine-covered countryside, visit animal farms, go horseback riding, or go into town for supplies. Minocqua was a quaint nearby tourist town with water-ski shows and Mass on the lake. Good little Catholic girls couldn't miss Mass, even in summer. Then we'd look at the shops lining the main street and buy trinkets with our allowances. Grandma would always want to stop and look at fall clothes and we just couldn't image why anyone could even THINK about autumn when summer was right here and ripe for the picking. I wanted to stay in my summer state of mind forever.

I remember the smell of Folgers’s coffee brewing early in the morning. As I chomped on my Frosted Flakes, I wondered why grownups drank the stuff when it tasted so bitter. Grandpa took us for boat rides on the lake, taught us to fish (he made us bait our own hooks, of course) and clean our catch. Grandma would fry them up for a fresh perch or bluegill dinner, complete with a baked potato and green salad. Yum.

After dinner we might take a short walk down the peninsula that jetted out into the water. As night fell, we could hear the distant sound of a loon singing his own unique tune and return, walking on a soft bed of pine needles and mossy green ground, to the cabin.

But back to the raspberries. Funny how a taste can incite a memory. Good memories. What foods give you good memories? What could you taste right now that would transport you back to a time that was happy, carefree, and wonder-filled? Today mine was a bowl of red raspberries. It sure felt good to be eight again.


Marie said...

Nicely done!

Mike said...

Great blog on raspberries and our cabin up North, Jackie! I was about 3 and stayed home with mom while you three girls went to the cabin with grandpa and grandma. Thanks for making such a great post! -yo bro Mike