Tuesday, June 16, 2009


So I was skimming an online MFK Fisher bit and found another excerpt...

"She was a grim woman, as if she had decided long ago that she could thus most safely get to Heaven. I have a feeling that my Father might have liked to help with the cannings, just as I longed to. But Grandmother, with that almost joyfully stern bowing to duty typical of religious women, made it clear that helpings in the kitchen was a bitter heavy business forbidden certainly to men, and generally to children. Someitmes she let me pull stems off the cherries, and one year when I was almost nine I stirred the pots a little now and then, silent and making myself as small as possible.

But there was no nonsense anyway, no foolish chitchat. Mother was still young and often gay, and the cook too... and with Grandmother directing operations they all worked in a harried muteness... stir, sweat, hurry. It was a pity. Such a beautifully smelly task should be fun, I thought.

In spite of any Late Victorian asceticism, though, the hot kitchen sent out tantalizing clouds, and the fruit on the porch lay rotting in its crates, or readied for the pots and the wooden spoons, in fair glowing piles upon the juice-stained tables. Grandmother, saving always, stood like a sacrificial priestess in the steam, "skimming" into a thick white saucer, and I, sometimes permitted and more often not, put my finger into the cooling froth and licked it. Warm and sweet and odorous. I loved it, then."

(again, no permission from anyone)

Um, who doesn't love her? This talk of fruit and especially rotting fruit reminds me 1) of the shrively blackberries I threw away from my office mini-fridge this morning and 2) of a Seamus Heaney poem about blackberry picking, which is, to me, mostly about growing up and the passage of time and how poignantly irresversible it is, this very Robert Frost "nothing gold can stay" sort of idea.

Hm. How many days until my birthday?

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