I put up strawberries with the girls yesterday. It got me to thinking about Mamaw. Strawberry picking with Mamaw and Papaw was a special event. We drove over to the u-pick fields and loaded up a year’s worth of strawberries. When we were done, we stopped for a picnic lunch on the way home.
Over the following weeks, Mamaw made jam, strawberry shortcakes, and homemade ice cream. What was left was sugared and put up in the freezer. Those frozen berries were supposed to be enough to last a whole year, but I loved them so much, I ate them all before Thanksgiving.
Not much has changed. Born under the Strawberry Moon, I was made to love June’s most popular berry. One of Mamaw’s favorite stories was about putting up strawberries with me.
I couldn’t have been more than three, and she set me up on the counter to “help her” prep berries for the freezer. The phone rang, and Mamaw turned her back on me to answer it.
She wasn’t on the phone for more than five minutes, but by the time she turned around, all the strawberries were gone. They were in my hair, up my nose, and between my toes. She said I was just a giggling.
I can’t remember going on a strawberry binge that day, but I do have my own sweet memories. My most beloved being Belle standing on a chair beside Mamaw at the sink cutting up strawberries. Belle was still in diapers at the time. She ate pretty much every berry she washed, and Mamaw thought it was the funniest thing.
Mamaw’s been gone for more than two years now, but it feels like she’s right here with us when we stand at the sink to put up strawberries.