Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Salute to the Strawberry

Whenever you begin to think more highly of yourself than you ought, try casting your memory back to humbler times. It always works.

When the SconeLady was growing up, it was sometimes believed that indoor toilets were unsanitary. Are you shocked by this? Outhouses were separate from the human beings inside the house, and therefore preferable. Mother was patient about this, but for obvious reasons wished deep down that we could be ushered into the 20th Century. Her children were little tykes who may not make it through the night, finding themselves out of doors in the dark (the nightly trek could be adventurous).

We all remember it well, this adventure, largely involving a cow (or two) who were standing immobile on the pathway and chewing contemplatively. Or perhaps just sleeping in an upright position. It might be that our appearance out of doors in the dark startled her just as much as her presence started us. And if you think this was no big deal, just you try wandering half asleep, arms outstretched ahead of you, and - wham! you are nose first into the side of a hairy wall. It isn't pleasant. 

Maybe people were right when they said it 'built character', but we might have argued the point.

Even if we had an outhouse, there were other nicer things to be had on the farm. There was always the cellar! Sometimes we were asked to go down to it to get things Mother needed. She did an enormous amount of canning in the small farmhouse kitchen, providing all sorts of goodies during winter. We liked this errand because it was always during daylight hours and involved no cattle. 

It was lovely and cool down in that cellar, and the glass jars felt smooth and comfortable in our hands. We never dropped a jar because we knew that each jar meant sustenance for another day. Mother always smiled when we came back in, carrying her requests.

Doesn't our cellar look rather like a Hobbit hole? I think so. It is the sweetest thing.

Today, these cellars hold things like the wooden strawberry flats that used to be filled with berries in the old days. Days when nothing had ever tasted so good as a firm, sweet strawberry in the hot sun of a strawberry patch. Days when we rose early and worked hard even though we were little. Days when people weren't so squeamish about children actually helping and even earning - not only money, but the confidence their work provided.

All of this and more, we have been reminded of over these last few days. And there was a lot to remember. But mostly we saluted the undisputed star of everybody's show, day in and day out, year after year... the dearest and the sweetest taste in this wide, wide world: the Strawberry.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

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