|We have done a lot of picking over the years.|
My grandmother and I would confer over the phone, briskly, for she was from the age of: don't talk long on the phone, it costs money. She married my grandfather four weeks before my wedding. Which means, she has been a part of our family for almost thirty-five years.
When the appointed day would arrive, I would pack up my children, maybe a couple of one of my siblings children and drive up to the part of Wisconsin where she lived. When we arrived, she would be standing at the window of the kitchen, watching for us. Allowing only enough time for the children to make a "stop" as she called it, we would then be off for the strawberry patch.
Grandma was tall and willowy, she was always reminding herself to stand up straight. She would wear a broad brim hat, have her gloves and baskets in hand for the days picking. She was not much of a talker, but always made an effort, asking each of whichever great grand child was with us in the car, things she remembered they were interested in.
|This is what it looks like.|
disembark and spread out into the rows, Some years it was hot without a breeze, some years it was damp and rainy, some years it was perfect, blue sky, gentle breeze and a few clouds, to take the heat off one's back. The children would eat berries as they picked, with admonishments called out from me: "don't eat too many, or put some in the basket so we can make jam when we get home."
Grandma did not admonish, she quietly picked, every once in awhile, looking up at the children and smiling as though, some secret, happy thought was going through her mind, as she watched the children. Occasionally, she would share a childhood story about how she and her siblings would help her mother pick fruit and make jam.
|Love strawberry jam!|
After we had picked and eaten our fill, we would pay for the berries and go to lunch. Nothing fancy, as we were all stained with red juice and bit sticky.
During one of these lunches she told me about coming back from the army* in World War 2, how she took the trains all across the country to see the USA. Growing up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, she had not seen too much, so she took the time after her discharge to do so. I think she said, she went alone, but I might have that wrong.
After lunch, I would drive back to her home, the children would make another "stop" and I would continue on, which is about an hour and half more in the car.
This last week, my daughters and I were saying it is almost strawberry season and it was only a few days later my sister called to say: "grandma died".
|Her's looks like this.|
I am grateful for those days we shared, I am richer for them and I hope she was too. I will never pick a strawberry again, without thinking of her, how we grew to know, and love each other. It is funny how much a difference those days made when they are spent together.
For I believe, it is the time we take with each other, slowly adding up over the course of our lives that makes us who we are. For at the end of the day, all we really have, is the sum of how we spend our time, and how we treat one another in the process.
*Actually, today (5/21/13) I found out today at the funeral, I was mistaken, Grandma was in the Navy hospital corps.