Tuesday, June 30, 2009

When you get lemons~

Make Lemonade

The month of June in Massachusetts has not been good to its beach goers or vacationers, or, I suppose, to any of us who have been looking forward to some warm summer sun. But being raised by a mother who often reminded me that complaining accomplished nothing, and most particularly where the weather is concerned, I'll not complain.

When it's raining lemons, I'll make the metaphorical lemonade.

I picked cherries in the rain. Not counting what we ate out of hand, our five-year-old Rainier cherry tree blessed us this year with a pie and two cobblers.

Who wants to bake in the hot summer? Not me. But in the unseasonably cool rainy days, I found it pure pleasure to mix and stir, and pop a pan into the oven, and then fold laundry while the delicious sweetness filled the house.

I thought often of my grandmother. I think it was the act of pitting the cherries--truly manual labor--and it brought to mind the long-ago summer days I'd sit with her while she shelled peas or snapped beans for supper. While I folded clothes, I thought of my mother who would iron while watching Afternoon Playhouse on TV. I can still smell the starch, and hear the hiss of steam.

Those were labor intensive days in many ways, yet they forbade the multi-tasking we are so prone to today. Laundry day was for doing a week's worth of laundry; shopping day was for buying groceries for the week. I find my self tossing in a daily load of wash and then jumping in the car to pick up some milk and bread, and then doing the same the next day. And the next. I've lost the sense of being done for a week that my mother and grandmother had.

Maybe I need a little old fashioned one-thing-at-a-time in my life.


Wanda said...

Ruth how you can pull me into a place I love. My mother's lifestyle and routines.

I caught them, and even with my different ways, Monday seems like wash day, I still change sheets on Saturday, and you know I love baking.

I hope someday my children will look back on me the way you do your mother and grandmother.

Love how you say things, they fill me with tears and smiles.

Love and Hugs

Tere said...

This really brought back some memories of those simple times growing up. Thanks for helping me remember and appreciate them.

Ross Eldridge said...

Hi there, Ruth,

Another charming piece that has me thinking about time and times. Then I bumped into a programme on the telly tonight on the culture channel, BBC-4, that featured an interview with a farmer in Gloucestershire. He was feeding his few dairy cows, each had its name above its stall (Daisy always seems to be a good name for a cow), and the interviewer thought to ask the farmer if, while he was putting the feed in the mangers, he had time to think about the day's choes, and to plan things. "No," replied the farmer. "When I am feeding my cows I devote everything, mind and body, to being with them and feeding them. Nothing else matters. They deserve my full attention." "So you're not thinking about going to the village pub later?" "Not at all. But when I go to the pub in the evening, I give that my all."

My mother's washing day was Monday. We didn't have supermarkets when I was a boy, the vegetables came around on a truck on certain days. Likewise, meat and fish. And the vendor would blow a conch shell to alert the people in the neighbourhood. We did go to a small shop for bread and chilled goods. As I recall, that happened once a week. Milk, of course, was delivered daily.

All that order to life seems rather pleasant. It is only nowadays when I have little real routine that I run out of things and find myself wanting something after the shops have shut.

You must be getting the English rain that John Lennon sang about in "I am the Walrus". We are baking in heat and (gasp!) humidity. Cailean really struggles after more than 30 minutes' walk. There have been violent thunderstorms in parts of Britain, and a few tornadoes, but not on the north east coast this far up. I find myself wishing for Autumn!


Bob Sanchez said...

Too much rain, Ruth. Would you like to share? My town rarely has enough.

You wrote a wonderful commentary.


DUTA said...

You're lucky to have a cherry tree. Cherries are very cherished by me.

As for the old, simple routines, I miss them too sometimes.

Pauline said...

The idea of a day for each task sounds delightful. In an effort to slow my days down, I'm going to give it a try (and I believe I have some ironing piled up...)

Rozel (a.k.a. Michelle) said...

Your post are so amazing! Every time you write something I get warm fuzzies. I want to be there picking the cherry’s in the rain and eating the fruits of our labor via pie/cobbler! I envision your life being somewhat like that of Anne of Green Gables. Minus the red hair and the tempter.