August 02, 2005

Summer time

The girls are in Louisiana this week enjoying a very brief part of the summer with my mother. I have no doubt they are doing some of the things I loved to do when I was a child.

I imagine first thing in the morning, Wee One and my mother will rise and let the dogs out. Sweet One will sleep in, the night owl she is. Before breakfast, they will put shoes on and my mother will hand Wee One a basket. Then they will walk over to the chicken pen, feed the ducks and chickens, and collect what fresh eggs there are.

After breakfast, if my mother has not already purchased crickets, a great hunt will ensue. With little trowels in hand she and Wee One will dig up small parts of the garden looking for worms and grubs. While Wee One loves all manner of things girly, pink, and frilly, she also likes to get her hands in the dirt. She has no problem snagging those wiggly worms and plump little grubs.

Once all the bait has been secured, they will go in and collect Sweet One before heading to the pond, some 200 yards from my mother’s present home.

The acre pond where I spent endless hours fishing for bream, white perch, bass, and an occasional catfish will host the freshman efforts of Wee One and the slightly more sophomoric efforts of Sweet One. They will catch fingerlings, as well as good pan-sized fish, and laugh and scream in delight. My mother will stand at the ready to bait or remove fish, as required, smiling with love and pride at their every action.

Sweet One will be armed with the obligatory pellet rifle propped against a pine tree behind her, ready to fire on a cotton mouth or bait stealing snappin’ turtle. Her Cairn Terrier Riley will be by her side ready to attack anything that dare threaten her as he watches her line for a little “bobber” action.

After their bucket for fish is full, my mother will break out a knife and a spoon and set to cleaning the keeper fish. She will then dispose of the remains right back in the pond. They will collect their rods and fillets and walk back to the house. It should almost be lunchtime.

The girls will be asked to wash up and my mother will put the fish in the refrigerator for a meal later in the day. She will probably serve the girls chicken and dumplings or roast, rice, and gravy for lunch.

During the hottest part of the day, the girls will relax, play on the computer, or watch a little television as my mother busies herself with the duties of a household.

Around four in the afternoon, my mother will ask the girls to help her in the garden. They will do a little weeding, some watering, and a lot of picking of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and snap beans. If they are lucky, a watermelon will be ripe and ready to harvest.

She will ask whether the girls would like blueberry or blackberry cobbler for dessert.

Blueberry season is just about over and the girls will probably have had their fill of that for the moment. I anticipate one or both will insist on blackberries. Because of chiggers and the possibility of snakes, my mother will insist the girls change into long pants and boots before they walk back to the woods and briars just past the pond. They will spend an hour or so picking enough blackberries for not one, but two cobblers, one for them and the other for the neighbors because that is what one does.

Upon their return from the berry pickin’ expedition, my mother will insist everyone have a bath. As the sun fades to darkness, she will fry the fish, slice some cucumbers and tomatoes for a creamy cucumber salad, and put the cobbler in the oven to bake as they enjoy their meal.

I hope my girls one day appreciate what wonderful memories they are making with their grandmother.

Posted by Christina at August 2, 2005 12:37 PM

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That sounds like the summers I used to spend with my grandmother. I hope they're having a wonderful time.

Posted by: Karen at August 2, 2005 01:28 PM

Can I spend a week at your Mom's too??? Purty please?????? It sounds glorious!

Posted by: The Wizard at August 2, 2005 02:15 PM

Sounds like heaven, and exactly like my Grandma's house, except the pond was a walk and I don't eat fish, so they all went back. :)

Posted by: Oddybobo at August 2, 2005 02:43 PM

That's what I want to be doing, too. It sounds a lot like what I did when I was a kid. My grandfather was a farmer and had a huge vegetable garden. We fished a lot, too. Great post!

Posted by: Dash at August 2, 2005 03:13 PM


I never knew my grandparents on either side and genuinely miss the experience. I recently came across a book titled, “Grandmothers are to Love,” by Lois Wyse. Inscribed on the first leaf are the words, “To Grandmother from Little Gene May 28, 1971.” Little Gene is my 35 year-old son who is now a veteran of The Gulf War, the war in Afghanistan, and the latest war in Iraq. The book asks the question, “What are grandmothers for? The answer is but a simple one, “they are to love.”

Posted by: Ed at August 2, 2005 03:35 PM

Do you, most of all, miss it; a fish out of water, or at least 'favored' water, at present? Perhaps you'll walk that erstwhile path on golden pond again. Maybe during golden grandmother. Best of luck. Thanks for sharing. Many years in your life, and much life in your years.

Posted by: danh từ at August 2, 2005 03:55 PM

They sound like more advanced fishermen (fisherpersons?) than I was at that age. I did fish crawdads with a string tied to little chunks of liver. This was in Kansas. I also remember the mulberry trees and blackberry bushes and fireflies and ...

Posted by: WitNit at August 2, 2005 03:59 PM

mmm. sounds absolutely wonderful! i have no doubt that when you get to the grandmother stage many, many, MANY years down the road, you will be just as classy as your mother is with your dear ones. : )

Posted by: amelie at August 2, 2005 04:15 PM

Not to worry...they will!!!

Posted by: Sam at August 2, 2005 11:22 PM

.. it is in the nature of kids to overlook those things... when they're older, they will realize how blessed they are.. but right now, it's just fun...

Posted by: Eric at August 3, 2005 06:36 AM

Sounds wonderful! I know your girls will remember this time with their grandmother...I remember the fun times with mine and that was decades ago!

Posted by: Ali at August 3, 2005 11:14 AM

Sounds idyllic. Did you appreciate it when you were growing up there?

Posted by: RP at August 3, 2005 11:39 AM

Sounds wonderful Christina, wish visits to my grandmothers had been like that but sadly they weren't too frequent or that good. Sounds like heaven. They are lucky :)

Posted by: gopher at August 3, 2005 03:31 PM

Yar, the good ship Sycamore could certainly set sail upon the waters of the 1-acre pond! We could play pirates ... wait, we be pirates already! Yar! Mmmmmm, blueberries and chiggers, my favorite combination... no wait ... grog and wenches be my favorite combination!

Posted by: ZiPpo, Imperial Privateer at August 3, 2005 04:25 PM

Mmmm.... sounds delicious. Makes me want to be a kid again. My summers were never *quite* like that, because as a youngster I lived in Phoenix and my grandmother lived in LA. No ponds for fishin', no blackberry or blueberry bushes... Where mom and grandma live now, summers would be more similar to your girls' experiences this summer. But still no pond - the lake is a few miles away.

Posted by: songstress7 at August 3, 2005 08:34 PM


Just Heaven.

Posted by: leelu at August 4, 2005 06:47 PM

Sounds wonderful. I never knew any of my granparents except for my momma's mother, and she was not the grandmorthely type. The closest I ever cam was a Great Aunt. Both of my wife's parents are deceased, and my folks are not very kid friendly (hey look at what an asshole they raised), so my children are missing out on a lot as well. I hope that when THEY have children, that I can be a pretty cool granddad. I love children, and would have eight or ten more if I could. Alas, I had the little vas things cut and burned, so three will have to do.

I envy that your children have such a wonderful grandmother. Hope that the end of their summer vacation is a memorable one.

Posted by: Richard at August 5, 2005 03:04 PM

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