Sunday, February 7, 2010

Elderberry Jam and Sassafrass Tea

After we pick berries and gather roots, we go back to the house for Grandma to make jam and tea. She sends me to the garden behind the house with a small bucket to get potatoes for supper. If I'll get them she'll fry them she said. Yay. I can drench them in ketchup.

I walk down to the garden which is a section cut out of the cornfield. It's a leased field and grandma reserves a section for a mid-sized garden. She grows tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, green bean etc. We take corn from the cornfield. The dirt is not soft, but is field dirt. I am a child who needs to touch things. I'm still sensitive to touch, sound and light as an adult. I run my hand over the dirt and hope I see some worms. I lift a rock in search of a worm and find some roly poly bugs. I play with those for awhile before I get busy digging up some potatoes. I could never linger while doing tasks for my mom, but my grandmother encouraged me to explore, relax, take my time.  When I've satisfied myself with a little play and gotten the potatoes, I head back towards the house.

As I'm walking, I get this sick feeling. I feel like someone is watching me. I look back and no one is there. I start off again and the feeling intensifies. I recall my grandmother telling me my mother was so connected to her father that she could announce his arrival five minutes before he'd get home. I "connect" with my grandmother and tell her I'm scared. I'm in trouble.  I quicken my pace... but the faster I go, the more I get this sick sick feeling. When I stop, I feel like it also stops.

I get to the side of the house and the feeling is overwhelming me. I'm terrified. SOMETHING IS FOLLOWING ME. I turn all the way around and see it. It licks its tongue out at me. I don't scream, I don't cry. I am frozen. I can't move. It's looking at me and I'm stuck in my own body. I don't know what to do. Its beady eyes are just there and I'm just there. If I move, it moves.  I'm screaming in my mind and the bucket is getting heavy. I hear my grandmother coming up behind me. Hot tears finally release from my frozen, tense face.

"Be still while I shoot", she whispered.  BANG!... its head is gone. Its body is still moving. WTF. OMG, its not dead. I drop my bucket and wrap my arms around my grandmas waist. My quivering voice asks, "How did you know?" I'm astounded she could hear my thoughts. "I saw you out the window", she laughed. "Don't worry, its dead, its muscles are just twitching".

I'm so impressed with her shooting skills. I'm so impressed with her intuition. She may have seen me, but she couldn't have seen that snake. It was really actually small. "Do you want to eat that snake with your potatoes", she teased. Uh, no I don't. I had the best grandma.


This is a blue racer. They are one of the few snakes that chase people. I borrowed this picture from the internet and it belongs to  www.natureconservancy.ca

3 comments:

Kelly said...

So sweet. I grew up far away from both sets of my grandparents and never REALLY knew them. I missed so much because of that so I am making sure my kids have a close relationship with my parents. Your grandma sounds like a sparkling jewel!!!

Babs said...

Thanks Kelly, I've been enjoying your Perfect Pieces. You are SUCH a good writer. I'm not religious at all, but I want you to know my heart is definitely with your family right now.

Paula said...

I love my grandmothers so much also. One is 92 now and the other 73. My children have gotten to enjoy them as well as their grandparents.