As I’ve officially savored my last handful of fresh picked peas from the garden, I can say that my first experience with gardening was rather successful; a pile of peas, heaps of tomatoes, decent carrots and a still slowly progressing zucchini. It was a good summer, and to my surprise one that I'm sort of sad to say goodbye to, for the memories it has brought me in the process.
My grandparents -where my sister and I spent our summers- had an enormous garden in their backyard, where their usual harvest consisted of apples, tomatoes, peas, carrots, potatoes, strawberries, the occasional pumpkin -and never to be forgotten- fists full of raspberries swiped through the slots of the fence of our neighbor's back yard (they invited it, really.) With sticky cheeks and dirty fingers, my sister and I relished in the luxury of natural goodness, passing around a giant soup spoon too big for our stained lips, as we shared a bowl of mashed raspberries on the front step in the blazing heat of summer.
My grandpa was adventurous, child-like and experimental, where he did things like grow cucumbers inside glass bottles, compete with himself for the world’s biggest pumpkin, and see what would come of planting peanuts. He had a glorious imagination, thinking up interesting stories that I’ve always remembered. How long it would take for the centipede to put all of his shoes on, what song bumble bees are humming, what kind of flower I’d be for a day. It was like a secret getaway that only he and I got to share together. Podding peas on the back step together, I was his brown-eyed susan, daydreaming and giggling in the sun.
My grandma was a silent nurturer, as shyness and her stubborn reservation painted an interesting picture when it came to her garden and producing the most beautiful flowers achievable. She had a quirky side, where on clear summer evenings my sister and I would be beckoned to hold a flashlight, while she scouted her front yard for slugs with a spray gun concoction of ammonia and water. It was an interesting side to my grandma to witness, readily aiming her pistol with rubber cleaning gloves and a cigarette in her other hand. Betty was a lady of class. The image alone leaves me laughing to myself, each time I water my daisies in the front yard.
As the summer comes to a close, it continues to take me back in time to when my sister and I were ready to leave our grandparents’ place to go back to school. Though it was quite sad to have to say goodbye to the sanctuary that we’d spent our summers, we always knew it would be there next year. And so, I finish the season with great pride in accomplishment and endless thanks for the memories it has provided me.
Til we meet again.