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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

September Sun

Jennifer at Gathering Grace remembers her Papa and his sweet Georgia muscadines today:

My Papa stayed outside most of the time, he'd walk all around, puttering and this and that. He had quite a stand of muscadine vines growing in early fall, 2 different varieties, either of which I was content to eat until I was sick. He also had apple trees, pear trees, pecan trees, and a fig bush. I don't think I thought about it much at the time, but now my mouth waters just thinking about it now!


I sat here in tears reading her post.

My own Grandaddy puttered outdoors professionally and recreationally, and he grew and meticulously tended grapevines in his beautiful sloping backyard, too. I so clearly remember those gentle early days of Southern autumn, right about now, the week of my birthday, when we'd all be at Grandaddy and Grandmama's house for the weekend, my big sister and me, my parents, my Aunt and Uncle and two cousins. The late afternoons would find us four girls on that slope leading down to the water's edge, under the deep shade of Grandaddy's scuppernong vines, picking the grapes and eating them, or shooting the fruit out the peels at one another, squealing and laughing.

Scuppernongs are a soft, golden-ripe grape with a dusky-honey flavor and a sweet floral aroma completely incomparable to any other. We'd stand beneath the cover of those vines, dodging humming yellow-jackets who shared the harvest every year. In the distance we could make out the roar of the crowd at the Clemson game, and the muffled THWOMP! of the cannon each time the Tigers scored.

Recalling the smell and taste of those grapes is almost too sweetly nostalgic for me to bear, yet what a perfect memory for this week. This week I turn forty. FORTY. I am a mother and a wife, a full-fledged adult now, there is simply no denying it, try as I may. But inside, I am still that innocent, tiny, tow-headed girl under the grapevines with her three best friends and favorite playmates in the whole world.

Inside I am still just me, barefoot and sticky to my elbows with scuppernong juice, enjoying now and anticipating tomorrow in the burnished light of the late September sun.

13 comments:

  1. Oh, this made ME cry! My hubby's grandaddy just died in April. He married us and was very special.

    We had muscadine vines at our house. My parents just moved Labor Day weekend into a new house and it's beautiful but, I will miss my *home*

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  2. Love it. Isn't it funny how those little grapes bring back such nostalgia? The taste is so intense, it makes the memories linger... you did a fantastic job describing the flavor. I should have done the same, or attempted to - so many "Yanks" didn't even know what they were! I may use your words verbatim.
    Thanks for sharing... I know just how you feel. How can it be that we are the same ages as those aunts and uncles were, way back when?

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  3. Older Jennifer... I'm OLDER than they were. But it's all good. I wouldn't trade 40 for 30 for all the grapes in the Golden Corner. ;)

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  4. Happy 40th birthday!! 40 is a good year.

    I love your story, it's just told perfectly. I need to go find some grapes right now.

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  5. What a beautiful story. You got me thinking about my Grandpa. I have so many good memories of him. He's been gone 11 years now and there isn't a day goes by that I don't miss him.

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  6. AAAWWWWW . . . sniff . . . sniff . . . what a beautiful post!

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  7. What a great post - I could picture it and feel the warm September sun. I must say - us Yanks don't have nearly the great vocabulary you southerners do. I'm learning all kinds of new words - package store, muscadines and now scuppernong, just to mention a few. My grandpa also had grapevines, but we must have no imagination because we just called them grapes. :)

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  8. Reminds me of my husband's grandpa. He had muscadines, figs, and pecans in his yard too. I think he is puttering, no skipping!, around the gardens of heaven now.

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  9. Beautiful words to celebrate #40 with! Isn't it funny how we never seem to feel any older inside?

    Jeanne

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  10. Happy 40th. but remember, you are as young as you feel.

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  11. Thank you so much for this beautiful post, Megan. It has inspired me to write about my own memories soon...my grandparent's yard was a magical place as a kid!

    What day is your bday?????

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  12. Beautiful! I agree with Rebekah-- you're as young as you feel :)Happy Birthday!

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  13. I just finished a bottle of Muscadine wine the other night and I posted about it. I visited a winery last year and tasted the grapes--delish!

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Thoughts?