Saturday, April 7, 2012

on this pair of holidays...

Next year in...   They’d heard about our sale, a group of Easter suits for $55.55, truly a steal. That’s what led them from Red House, VA to my store in Danville, almost an hour’s drive.

“I know about Red House,” I told them. “Isn’t an Islamic compound near there?”  A year ago I’d tried to find it, but was unsuccessful.

Nannie and her husband knew what I was asking about. “We’ve never been there,” she told me. “But the Muslims we’ve met have been friendly.”

They knew how to get to the compound, and gave me directions. But, as Nannie and I talked, I became more interested in seeing the farm she’d bought with her husband more than thirty fives years ago when they moved to Red House. “I planted two grape vines then,” she told me. “Each of them is more than twenty five feet long. The trunks are this big,” she said, making a circle with her fingers that seemed about the size of my calf.

“There’s something you may want to see,” I replied. Minutes later, I showed her my photo of my first grapes  that I’d planted more than ten years ago. She seemed impressed. “I’d love to take pictures of yours...if you’d like that.” I explained that I didn’t have mine any more since I’d sold my house and its grape vines.

She loved the idea. “Maybe you’ll come when they’re ripe in August. You can pick some of mine. And I want you to see my pear tree too,” she told me. “I still can’t believe it was blown there many years ago during a bad storm. We left it where it landed, and it grows more pears than we can use.” She mentioned the jams, preserves, pickles, and condiments she’d made. “And there were some left over!” she exclaimed.

I thought of that unexpected delivery of her pear tree on Thursday when I was digging, cleaning a lot near downtown that I’ll eventually sell. Like her tree, I had a visitor I hadn’t seen before, a beautiful Carolina blue bird that flew from a tree just across the road to one on my property. Attracted to grub worms I uncovered, it flew within yards of where I was digging. For more than an hour, I noticed the blue bird come and go.

That’s when I decided to offer the next grub worm directly to my visitor. Putting one on my shovel, I looked in the direction of the bird’s perch, then tossed the grub about twelve feet in front of me. Moments later, the blue bird snatched the morsel. I looked for more.

And I remembered doing something similar at my former home where I’d planted my grape vines. As my younger daughter watched, I held a nectar filled feeder for humming birds to land on. When they buzzed by my ear to land on the feeder, I was thrilled.

Soon after that came my first grapes, grapes I’d hoped to turn into Passover wine someday. Although the coming of this year’s Passover is my first full year without that dream, I may have found its replacement, thanks to Nannie’s offer, just in time for a Pesach to come.

                                              B.Koplen  4/7/12

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