We spent yesterday evening doing some yard work that included staking up our second year boysenberry plant onto a trellis. It has a lot of blooms and I am excited to see those berries develop and ripen. A few days before I managed to reign in the somewhat unruly raspberries but not before their thorns left me with several bloodied scratches. No pain, no gain ~ even in gardening!
Working in the berries I can’t help but be reminded of a childhood memory involving me and “Gammie”. Gammie was my great-grandma, the mother of my Grandma Peggy and my Mom’s grandma. I used to stay with my Grandma Peggy a lot growing up and Gammie had come to live in a small, single wide trailer on their property, close enough to my grandparents that they could keep a watch on her but far enough away that she still had her independence.
I would eat breakfast at my Grandma Peggy’s but then would head over to Gammie’s a bit later during her breakfast time and have toast and jam. We would visit and she would entertain me. She was full of spunk and always had a mischievous twinkle in her eyes.
Weather permitting we also went on walks around the property. My grandparents had big rhododendrons, fragrant lilacs and various other wonders to see and smell at their country home. Occasionally we would wander down the dead-end road just past their house. It was on that road that the blackberry incident occurred.
One warm, summer morning, after toast, Gammie decided she wanted to pick some of the wild blackberries along the dead-end road and I was more than happy to accompany her. We set off with buckets in hand to claim our treasured berries. All was fine at the start as the berries were picked and plunked into buckets. A few were eaten, because who can resist a warm blackberry fresh from the vine?
We continued our picking when she spied a few berries under the brambles on top and leaned in to reach them. A result of her age, her balance was off and in she tumbled, head first right into the blackberries! Hearing faint cries for help, as she fell deep, off I ran back to my grandparents where my Mom and Grandma were visiting inside. Tears streaming I tried to explain Gammie’s plight but was so upset I could hardly choke out the words. “Gammie fell.” My Grandma Peggy and my Mom ran quickly.
Me? I hid under the dining room table scared to death!
My Mom and Grandma came back soon, definitely shaken. Gammie was not hurt though, other than a few scratches and what I now imagine were a few bumps and bruises to boot. I, however, stayed under the table. I was scared for her. But I was scared for me too, scared of losing her.
Well, I eventually came out from beneath the table and life continued as usual. We had many more days of toast with jam (though we both avoided the berries) before she was unable to be cared for at home and was moved to a nursing home. Due to age and health her body was declining but her inner spark remained. I assume this must have been what attracted a fellow nursing home resident, gentlemen caller, to visit her room. I still remember them sitting side by side in their wheelchairs holding hands. That and the silverware she would take and hide in her bedside drawer, but that is another story (grin).
I miss my Gammie but am thankful to have had her in my life for as long as I did. I think of her on warm spring and summer days when I smell the lilacs or tend the berries, when I make jam or have toast. And when we venture out to the woods to pick the little wild blackberries, it’s then that I miss her most.
Tags: Country Living