There are not many things in this world that can immediately send me to another time and place. For some it is a song or a smell, but for me, just sometimes, when I place a freshly picked raspberry in my mouth my mind is flooded with memories from the past.
All of a sudden I’m a little boy again, parked in one of the rows of my Grandparents garden. The tall raspberry bushes hiding me from anyone who isn’t in my row. Allowing me to pick raspberry after raspberry until I could eat no more. There are few places which hold a sentimental place in my heart, usually that is reserved for people, but my Grandparents home will always be a special place to me.
We lived only a few hours away, but only visited a few times a year. Going to visit them was our family vacations and was something we all looked forward to. Their yard seemed like the biggest property I’d ever seen and was always kept neat and tidy. While we were there we were free to run and play anywhere on this grand estate. Maybe it was because I was young and small or maybe it was because we lived in a mobile home on a postage stamp sized lot. Whatever the case their yard was massive and I loved having the run of it.
The property ran from the main road all the way back to a beautiful river. On one side there was a farmers field on the other side a row of trees separated their yard from the neighbours. Along the fence between their yard and the farmers field there was a gooseberry bush. It still to this day is the only one I can recall ever seeing. It grew wild but the berries were a delightful sour. This reminds me that I should try to find a bush to plant in my own yard.
In the far left corner, close to the river, was an old shed which years ago was used for housing animals. It was since converted over to a kids play house. The toys still in there were from my Mothers generation and earlier so they seemed old to us but still fun to play with. The windows had curtains in them and besides the main door there was a small sliding door that was used to let the animals in and out, but if you could fit it made for a sneaky exit as well.
In the far right corner the neighbours had a small fish pond which they kept fully stocked. If you got close the fish would all start jumping looking for food. On occasion we would be able to help throw pellets to them and watch the scramble as the water erupted with what seemed like thousands of fish all trying to get the food.
Another place which was great to sit and relax was the two seat wooden glider swing. It didn’t matter if I was by myself or if we loaded both sides full of people, I could sit there and swing back and forth and let the time float by. As I got older I would sit out there reading and swinging.
If I decided to take a break from the swing there was a tree in between it and the house which was excellent for climbing. I recall sitting up there, out of sight, and spying on people coming in and out of the house without them ever knowing I was there.
My Grandmothers pride and joy, and my favourite place on their property, was her garden. To me it seemed like she could have fed the whole neighbourhood based on its size and everything growing in it. Apparently by the time I was around it had already shrunk in size compared to what it used to be.
She seemed to grow everything and there was nothing better than a meal from things that came out of her garden. Nothing except maybe just standing in the garden and eating peas right out of the pod, or beans freshly picked. My favourite though was certainly the raspberries.
My Grandfather past away while I was still quite young but my Grandmother stayed in the home almost until she past away in 2007.
Walking the property one last time before it was sold, it no longer seemed to be as big as it once did, but the memories were still there and always will be. Now I look forward to the times when that simple act of putting a berry in my mouth can transport me back to that yard.