Raspberry Summer

August 10, 2014 at 8:15 am (Memoir) (, , , , , , , , , , )

I eat raspberries as I write this.

They are cold and slightly tart. They have been in the refrigerator for a few days now. I don’t like to eat my raspberries right away. I like to savor them.

They traveled a long way to get here. These are California raspberries shipped up to Canada which seems stupid. The raspberries are ripe here right now, I just can’t get to them. I have no raspberry patch of my own. I have no car. The farmers’ market has come and gone for the week (it is only on Thursday afternoons – how ridiculous). Sometimes, I really miss my city and its twice weekly farmers’ markets.

These are not my mother’s raspberries. My mother’s raspberries wait in the patch to be picked. She sprinkles them with sugar before she freezes them. I like mine frozen without sugar. I like to savor the frozen berries, one by one, in the deepness of winter. In December, I like to mush up the frozen raspberries in a big bowl of chocolate ice cream. Ah, bliss!

Raspberries are my favourite fruit.

I swear I could live for days on just raspberries and chocolate.

Growing up, my grandparent’s neighbour had a yard full of raspberry canes. These were my father’s parents. Jack lived about a quarter of a mile down their country road. He was a farmer or had been a farmer. I’m sure by then he was a retired farmer.

Jack had that look about him. To me, he seemed old and always dusty. He lived alone. He lived on a farm thus he must have been a retired farmer. It’s strange what we remember and what we assume.

I don’t remember his last name. It’s not important. If it were I could ask my mother – she would remember.

I remember being young. I was probably in grade one. We would go to pick raspberries in Jack’s yard. I was surrounded by bushes. I was a fairy tale creature in a raspberry forest surviving on what I could forage. I ate as much as I picked for the pail.

These raspberries were not for eating. These raspberries were for freezing. It seems my mother was very big into delayed gratification. It seemed all our summer fruit was for freezing and not for enjoying now. We were poor. It was prudent to freeze the excess fruits for later. But when you are a child you live only in the moment, in the now.

Is this why I am willing to pay almost five dollars for less than a pint of raspberries to eat right now?

Looking Up

Raspberries taste best sun ripened and warm from the heat.

My nephew lives on my grandparent’s farm now. Where Jack’s house was is a very large slough (we’ve had a lot of rain lately). This slough covers what use to be yard/garden – where a raspberry forest use to be.

Still, I wonder, have the raspberries grown wild by now? Is there somewhere, beyond the slough, a raspberry forest full of fairy-tale creatures gorging themselves on sun-ripened fruit their hands red and sticky?

What is your favourite summer fruit?

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