Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Arkansas Traveler Part I- Rememberance

This past Saturday Naomi and I took an impromptu trip to Arkansas for a "family emergency". My maternal grandmother came out of surgery and was not doing well. We decided on Friday night to not wait and to head straight down to Little Rock, Arkansas. I can remember from an early age my grandmother spending many summer days canning and freezing as many vegetables and fruit as possible. My grandfather tended the garden and she ensured that there was preserved food until next years harvest. My family still speaks about the jams and jellies that she would make with awe and reverence. And each time Naomi does some canning I can't help but think of her.

She was always finding some way to enlist my cousins and myself into the work of the day. One of my favorite activities was sitting on the porch swing with her and shelling purplehull peas, which is a common crop grown in Arkansas. My hands stained lavender from the shelling, we would sit there and talk about anything that came up. I loved when she would talk about her childhood and my mom's childhood. These conversations would of course lead me back through time to a place when life was harder, but it seemed so much sweeter through her eyes. Then after our work and conversation was finished she would freeze the majority of the bounty and then use the rest to make a wonderful dish.

She died this past Monday and she will be sorely missed by my family and all who knew her. She lived a long, good life and I will forever remember those dog days of summer, in Arkansas, sitting on the porch listening to her stories of days gone by.

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