Choked up on chokecherries
As I walked this weekend on a country bike path that was once a rail bed, I spotted chokecherry bushes full of ripe fruit. I pulled at a few, popped them in my mouth and hoped they weren't poisonous lookalikes. I spit out the pits. I ate a few more until my mouth was a bit dry. I got choked up as I remembered my chokecherry walks with my father, in Vermont, on a similar path.
For ten years running, when our children were youngsters, we rented a cottage on Lake Memphremagog, just north of Newport, in Vermont. My parents would often join us. At U.S. customs, they loved the way the kids would remain quiet through the questioning of the border guards, then throw up their arms and scream with delight as we pulled away. They knew the cottage was minutes away.
These were happy days: an exceptional sandy beach, shallow water for 50 feet out, and a view of soft mountains across the lake. A bike path ran parallel to the lake so you could walk or ride in either direction; north to North Derby Rd and Canada Customs or south, to North County Hospital and then the town of Newport. And chokecherries lined the path.
The chokecherries this weekend weren't nearly as good as they were when my father and I would walk at a snail's pace, talking with pleasure about nothing much while sampling chokecherries. Whenever the chokecherries would dry our mouths, and make it almost difficult to swallow, we would stop. I can't say I ever loved chokecherries, but my father had sweet childhood memories of chokecherry jelly, and so it was that we ate them together summer after summer, along the old railroad bed.
What fond memories choke you up? And why?
Keep you posted,
14/8/2013 02:18:31 am
I remember fondly the weekend I spent with you and your parents(and Tessa and friend) at the nice house near the path along the lake. We took a long walk into Newport...I didn't eat chokecherries!
14/8/2013 02:47:15 pm
I'm so glad you reminded me of this trip so long ago!
14/8/2013 01:17:19 pm
I have cried a whole lot of times this ppast week as we cleaned out the homestead after my mom moved to a seniors residence. My dad died last winter and we had to give away his clothes and things. All that went well...surprisingly easy to do. It seems that for me, the spirit of my father di not reside in his clothes, books or pipes. We placed his ashes under a tree he loved and had planted...touching but not overwhelming... But when it came to cleaning out the freezer and the jelly cupboard and throwing out the last of the soups and sauces that he made, the recognition that I would never again eat his cooking... somehow THAT was unbearable. I cannot even think about his tomato sauce without tearing up. Clearly I have some special history with my dad through food....or there was something very personal about him that I read in his cooking one might say his particular flavor.
14/8/2013 02:52:28 pm
What chokes us up can be a surprise. Maybe once or twice, let yourself go all the way to the depth of feeling you have when you think about your dad's tomato sauce. Thanks for sharing your story.
14/8/2013 01:18:28 pm
Aw Minda, that's such a sweet post. My parents also have a place in Vermont, so some of your descriptions reminded me of there, and them. I know my Vermont memories will always be very dear to me, and I'm sure will choke me up when I think of them! Too bad things can't stay the same...
14/8/2013 02:57:51 pm
Nice to hear from you Alison. Lucky to have all those Vermont memories. It's tough when things change - but they always do. That is one thing we can count on!
15/8/2013 02:09:55 am
A memory that chokes me is when my father would read out loud to me. He would sit in the doorway of my room with the hallway light on and to take me through Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and many others. His sweet voice always lulled me to sleep. These are fond memories I will never forget.
15/8/2013 02:14:58 am
What a beautiful memory to have...chokes me up too! Thanks Gabriella
15/8/2013 05:36:39 am
You had Vermont and so much more We had Jones Beach and your parents happy and smiling and being together.
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My family, relationships, movement, nature, flexibility of mind, exploration of alternative perspectives & openness are central to my life.