Peaches & watermelons - a bittersweet summer memory...
Jul. 10, 2010 5:44 pm
Updated: Jul. 13, 2010 8:40 am
Went to Wal-Mart this afternoon, browsing through the produce section. Picked up some good looking peaches and thought of my Dad, who passed away in 2003. He was almost 93. Dad was a small-time farmer and loved peaches. Our summer vacation was traveling
to southern Illinois to pick up a trunk load of peaches that were in season. His biggest joy was distributing peaches to his friends. Best friends & family got 1/2 bushel. Other friends got a small bagful, and maybe casual acquaintances warranted a few
peaches, just enough to get a good taste. He loved sharing his bounty.
Next stop - the watermelons. I hadn't bought any watermelon yet this year. They had some of the large oblong ones and I was immediately taken back to when my Dad and I would check out watermelons in the garden and Dad would "plug" the melon. This is whipping
out the pocketknife and cutting a triangular "plug" out of the melon to taste test it. Of course I was the official taste tester. I couldn't believe it, but I actually found myself tearing up and gently stroking the top of the melon. How silly! But I couldn't
bring myself to put the melon in the cart.
Next to the large melons were the small Sugar Baby melons, you know, the small seedless or individual kind. Again, a strong memory. Dad luring me out to the garden after he had mowed the large lawn. Saying "don't tell Mom" as he cut into one of the Sugar
Baby melons and cutting it into chunks for us to eat. The juice totally dripping everywhere, we were a sticky mess. Do you know how really awful warm watermelon is? But that day it was the best melon I ever had. Mind you, I knew even when I was a kid that
my Mom knew exactly what happened in the garden, because my Dad could never keep a secret from her and would have probably shared the story in bed that night. Again, no melon into the cart. I continued my shopping as I tried not to sniffle.
Today is July 10th. Unless I am at work and typing the date over and over again, I could care less what the date is. As I am driving home, for the first time that day I actually glanced at my dashboard that has the date in a digital readout. July 10, 2010.
My Dad's birthday. Oh boy, that did it. Then I realized he would have been 100 years old today. Not for one minute do I wish that he was here on this earth right now because he would not have been in good health. It was time for him to go on. But sometimes
the memories can hit you like a sledgehammer.
The day after he died I went to the grocery store and when I entered the door of the store he and my mother had always frequented, I was immediately hit by the strongest smell of fresh peaches. There they were - right in front of the door. I can't say I had
ever believed in "signs", but sometimes... When I returned from his funeral, I sat down on the couch and ate my peach and watched Tom & Jerry cartoons, something we always enjoyed together before heading out to church.
Just had to share because food can trigger such intense memories. There are a ton more as I really was "Daddy's Little Girl", I even had a T-shirt that I wore proudly with that logo.
As I close this blog, I think of Dad and how he would have enjoyed my sharing the memories with all of you. Happy Birthday Dad!