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Thursday, September 8, 2011

In the Throes of Thursday-Harvest Memories

Her name was Lillian and she was the rock I stood on in a very shifty and uncertain stream called childhood. While I was growing up she was just Gram, the person who was always there. Hers was the warm lap for the times I was scared or sick. Hers were the arms that hugged me close after a nightmare. Hers were the footsteps I walked in right up to the time she left.


In earlier posts I wrote about how I learned to can fruit and vegetables because my gram was a canning whirlwind come September. This was only one of her legacies that she passed to me from her grandmother, but it's one that I value greatly. I know my love of the harvest is mostly about my memories of her that come with the season--the rich smell of ripe tomatoes on the vine, the crunch of apples just out of reach, but dangling overhead and ready to pick, the even rows of carrots, lettuce, and onions--that's September, the month that Gram returns to me.


So out come her aprons and her tools that I store on the shelves high and at the back. Out come the recipes that I know by heart, but that must attend this ritual if it's to be complete. 

 And while I pick, then peel, then stir the bubbling pots in lazy eights--just the way she taught me, I thank Lillian for her gifts. Love. Family skills from another time. Patience which comes with any careful process, and memories of childhood harvests that often help me through the shifty and uncertain stream called adulthood.





What are your rituals or traditions? Where they handed down? Are you handing any down to your children? Do you write about them in your stories?


15 comments:

  1. A most enjoyable blog, loved the pictures. A pleasure to read.

    Yvonne.

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  2. Beautiful. My grandma memories all revolve around food. The smell of melting butter makes me feel like I'm with her.

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  3. I'm enjoying reading about your childhood - it reminds me of listening to my dad tell me about his days growing up on a farm

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  4. What a lovely way to remember (and honor) your grandmother and your time with her.

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  5. What a heartwarming post. Thank you for sharing this bit of yourself (and your Gram) with us!

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  6. Thank you for your comment, much appreciated,
    Hope all is well.

    Yvonne.

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  7. Great interview up there! Family traditions can be such a tricky thing when you're drawing from two different backgrounds, but we've created many of our own. I think if we'd stayed close (geographically) to the family many of those traditions would have filtered down. Now I'm glancing back and reminiscing. Great post.

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  8. I have very few rituals or traditions with the seasons. I talked about the few that I have on my blog yesterday, but I REALLY want to build more with my wife. Now that we have a real home together (not a rented space) I'm going to work with her to make some family rituals. Stuff that reminds us of our families when we grew up.

    I love this post, and it almost makes me cry. I can just imagine the happy memories that you associate with your Gram. :)

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  9. That was so sweet! I loved the pictures. :)

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  10. My grandmother made a lamb cake every Easter. I was so excited when I found where I could buy the same kind of pan she used. Now I make the Easter lamb cake, and I always think of Grandma. :)

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  11. This is such a beautiful post. I love your reflections of your childhood days with your grandma. Love the pics, especially the aprons hanging on the line. Wow. Really nice.

    I'm drawing a blank about family traditions, but I grew up playing a lot of card games with my family, Hearts, Spades, a little poker. Old Maid when we were real little! We did the same while raising our kids. Now our favorite game is Balderdash! Perfect game for writers! LOL!

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  12. Your lovely post set me thinking about my childhood growing up on a farm in the 1950s and 60s. Autumn was the time for pickling shallots and beetroot and wrapping apples in individual sheets of newspaper so that they would keep through the winter. Also time to put the hedgehog in his box for his winter sleep – but that’s another story!
    Barbara
    marchhousebookscom.blogspot.com/

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  13. What a lovely tribute to your grandmother!

    I have my grandmother's lignum vitae mortar and pestle that I use for grinding herbs. Ever time I use it, I see/feel her hands in my hands.

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  14. I think cooking is closely related to family and tradition- recipes and techniques handed down from one generation to the next. p.s. Love the aprons!

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  15. I'm afraid my parents worked and I was alone a lot. I was keeping house by the age of 8. Now, I try to do these kinds of things with my children. We go apple picking together and I'll can apple butter, then make scones. They help with the entire process. It is great to see them having fun in the kitchen.

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