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Ever since I can remember, my family has gathered together every fall to pick grapes in my grandparents’ backyard.
It is a tradition that I look forward to every single year.
When I was a girl, my grandparents had a huge garden and lovely orchard with grape vines running the whole length of the back fence. It was a magical world where my cousin and I would play. We would build forts in the trees and search under the vines for snails and snakes. Occasionally we would find a lost bunny or cat, but the snakes were our favorite. My grandmother was deathly afraid of anything that slithered so we would chase her with them, laughing as she screamed.
Rotten little stinks!
While Grandpa flood irrigated the yard, we would slosh around in our bare feet. We were his “best helpers”.
He cut small pieces of wood for each of us and we would surf on them across the waterlogged grass.
I didn’t know it then, but I realize now that I was living a storybook childhood.
Year after year we gather at the vines with apple baskets and old wash tubs to harvest. Someone inevitably get a snail placed in their hair or comes face to face with Charlotte and her web. Year after year we continue to go back and each time brings new growth as my brothers and cousins marry, and new great grand-babies are born.
The garden has long been replaced by a parking lot and the snakes are a distant memory but the beautiful vines full of fun and memories remain.
It’s funny how something as simple as snails, time with family, homemade grape jelly, and old tea towels can resonate in your soul.
These are the things my dreams are made of.
Thank you Grandpa and Grandma for your time, your love, the memories… everything.
Jelly is set and I’m hungry!
Bring on the hot fresh bread and peppermint tea.