Thursday, June 24, 2010
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 north woods 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 woodland wisdom with us, but most of it didn't sink in. However, I’ll never forget one important plant: the wintergreen. When you snap the firm leaf in two, it smells like gum! That one I remembered.
We'd take drives in the pine-covered countryside, 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. Leisurely strolling down the main street, we’d stop to buy trinkets with our allowance. Grandma would always want to look at fall clothes, and we couldn't image why anyone could even THINK about autumn when summer was right here, 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 Frosted Flakes, I wondered why grownups drank the stuff when it tasted so bitter. Most days Grandpa would take us for a boat ride on the lake. He taught us to fish (and made us bait our own hooks) and clean our catch. Then Grandma would fry up a fresh perch or bluegill dinner, complete with a baked potato and big green salad. Yum.
After dinner we’d take a short walk down the pine-covered peninsula that jetted out into the water. As night fell, you could hear the distant sound of a loon singing his own unique tune and return to the cabin walking on a soft bed of pine needles and mossy green ground.
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.