Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Raspberry Bush

Today I planted a raspberry bush. I chose the perfect sunny spot in my little backyard garden and dug a hole. I mixed in some of the compost I had made from the scraps of last year’s garden with the surrounding soil and patted it down firm. The little card the bush came with tells me I won’t see raspberries until next summer, because the roots needs this summer to make themselves at home. I watered carefully and deeply.

When I was a child, my mom would take my little brother and I to Port Elgin, a small beach town that sits on the eastern shores of Lake Huron. We loved it there. I still love it there. Summer days spent at the beach, Gerry’s fries for lunch, and evenings spent at my Aunt Pearl and Uncle Mac’s house, where Aunt Pearl would make from scratch the best meals ever.

Aunt Pearl was my mom’s Aunt. She was fair- light hair, white skin, and the darkest of eyes. Fiery eyes in fact, to match her personality. She and Uncle Mac grew a garden at the back of their house- organic, where they grew a variety of vegetables and fruits that made it to the table every day. In addition, Aunt Pearl was known to can and preserve much of what they grew. At the back of the garden, against the neighbour’s barn was a big raspberry bush and my brother and I would help ourselves to the raspberries whenever we passed by. Sometimes Aunt Pearl would give us each one of those green, square baskets and send us out to fill them up with raspberries. That meant dessert would be raspberries with cream and a sprinkling of white sugar after dinner that night.

Aunt Pearl and Uncle Mac passed away years ago, but for the past six years I have shared the beauty of Port Elgin with my little girl, taking her there for a week each summer. It’s a special time for us to bond as we spend days at the beach and early evenings watching some of the world's best sunsets. A couple of years ago I passed by the house that Aunt Pearl and Uncle Mac once lived in. The outside of the house had been freshly painted, the garden was gone and the raspberry bush was no longer growing along the side of the neighbour’s barn. I told my little girl about the garden- where the raspberry bush once was, where the peach tree stood, and how my brother and I would chase each other around the outside of the house in the mornings.

Today, I didn’t only plant a raspberry bush, I planted a small memory of my childhood. Even now when I pop a raspberry into my mouth, I am transported back to those summers in Port Elgin as a child. I look forward to eating from my own raspberry bush now… if only I didn’t have to wait until next summer!

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