I sat on the porch to pit them, and the task brought back so many memories. When I was a child, our yard had five or six sour red cherry trees. They were loaded with cherries every year; the biggest tree was the parent of many smaller seedlings, and Dad planted some of those and gave small trees away to several people.
I wonder now what my mother thought as she watched us scamper across the yard with our buckets. She would send us out immediately after breakfast. Each of us had something to pick into, and we would dump the cherries into a large dark-blue granite canning kettle as our containers filled. But imagine the sight of five or six children running across green grass in an old Victorian neighborhood, buckets in our hands and our high voices filling the air with chatter. We were probably wearing shorts, and some of us had our hair in braids.
I thought about these things as I sat alone on my porch, 300 miles away from my childhood home, pitting the first real crop of cherries from my tree. Red juice squirted on me and on the floor as one by one the cherries moved from colander to bowl and the seeds pinged against the pottery bowl set on the floor to catch them. I have a cherry stoner and it works quite well, but this morning I wanted to do it the way I remembered, to savor the sweetness of memories, to hear again the lost children's voices, and to see the tree bending under my impatient, scabby knees.
Copyright 2012 Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.