Tuesday, July 17, 2018

July Travels

Monday morning, July 2nd, Mom and I drove over to WI to visit Aunt Grace. I thought about all sorts of people I could call and visit while I was there. In the end I just relaxed and listened to Grace and Mom reminisce.

I have a lot of memories in that neck of the woods, too. Every Christmas we went to WI for a
Martin reunion. Since the Martins were together we might as well have a Skrivseth reunion.
Four of the Martin clan married four Skrivseths. We would have a lot more relatives if they wouldn't have doubled up like that! ;) On top of that two more Skrivseths married cousins of the Martin family.

One of my younger cousins asked his mom to explain the family records. It truly is something that becomes more clear if you write it all down on a chart and read it. This young man listened to the whole explanation and then said, "Mom, by the time you and Dad got married didn't you feel like
you were related?"

Tuesday morning we drove to Sheldon and got groceries. On the way home we stopped at the cemetery where Grandpa and Grandma Martin are buried. Then we drove past the home farm.
On down the road and around the curve, across the bridge and through the woods to the spot
where Mom and her sisters picked berries every summer. They walked there, picked berries then walked home. Ate lunch then walked back and picked more berries. Grandma canned them in jars and they had berries for winter eating.

Listening to Grace and Mom talk was a little like reading an Anne of Green Gables book. They walked everywhere. To school, to the pond for skating, to the woods to pick berries.

As we drove down the road we passed a pond on the left hand side. Mom said they used to
skate on that pond. That comment intrigued me. Since Mom and her siblings skated there why
hadn't they shown us that sweet spot? We drove around the curve and crossed the bridge.
I slowed down and said, "This is where we skated. We went down that bank, put our skates on
and went swimming." The instant the word fell off my tongue I knew it was wrong.

"No, no, I meant skating!" I protested above shrieks of laughter from Aunt Grace and Mother.

What causes these twists of the tongue?! I have no idea. I looked at the water flowing under the bridge and the word swimming came to the surface.

At any rate there used to be a week of Winter Bible School held at the Sheldon church between Christmas and New Year. We studied, listened to lectures and sang during the day and skated in
the afternoons. Now my mind comes up blank. Was there an evening session back at the church? Someone help me remember if you were there all those years ago.

Mom and I drove to Boyceville, WI Tuesday afternoon and attended a 50th anniversary celebration for my uncle and aunt, Amos and Carol Kauffman. All of their children were there - cousins I haven't seen in years.  This was a momentous occasion. The reception was held in a large green house at my cousin's place. Tables and chairs were arranged in long rows. We helped ourselves to an assortment of delicious food at a buffet then we could sit down and eat.

The weather cooperated with a beautiful summer evening . . . sunny and warm. Eventually there was a sunset, too. What fun to look at old pictures and memories and meet so many people.

There was another slip of the tongue to embarrass me on this lovely day. Mom and I got there early. We drove up to the house and went inside. There was a bustle of activity with last minute food preparation. Two lovely gals were spreading a cream cheese/ranch dressing on the pizza crusts. To make conversation and be friendly and fill in the silence I said, "I don't know your names."

My cousin looked up and said, "I'm Michelle." At the same moment I remembered the other gal was Evelyn, my cousin Curt's wife. Laughter is good for the soul. We had lots of funny stories to
tell to keep us laughing.

Congratulations to Amos and Carol and to their beautiful family. It was a lovely party!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Summer in a Bowl

"Did you plant some berries beside the shed?" my husband asked me a couple weeks ago.
"No, I don't know anything about them. What berries?"

It turns out that Ellis saw red - raspberry looking fruit on prickly vines every time he mowed past
the shed at the edge of the lawn. There is a big walnut tree shading the shed. The foundation of the old chicken coop is hidden under brambles and stinging nettle. Some rotten wooden pallets are hiding there too. They make treacherous footing when you step on them and reach for a big black berry that hangs just out of reach.

While I was on a mini vacation to WI Krysta braved the mosquitos and picked these berries. (They turn black when they are ripe.) Then she looked up a recipe online for blackberry cobbler and turned them into a scrumptious dessert. It was soo delicious that I followed her to the patch and helped pick more berries so we could make more cobbler.

The garments required are leggings and knee socks, old tennies, an old dress that doesn't matter because it will get ripped from brambles, and a long sleeved shirt. I lit some mosquito coils and hung them on branches near by. That will keep the pesky creatures at bay.

I dangled an ice cream bucket over my arm and prepared for battle. The shade from the walnut tree was wonderful. I thought garden things won't grow under walnut trees. The combination of seeds planted by birds in well aged chicken manure must be the trick because these berries are flourishing.  We still don't know if they are blackberries or black raspberries. Is there a difference?

I contemplated all these thoughts and questions as I picked. And I thought about my dad. Every summer Dad went to the back side of his property and picked berries just like these. Every summer Mom made a pie for Dad's birthday with them.

This year my daughter and I picked berries from a corner of our property and made a cobbler. On July 9th, Dad's birthday, we had a hot dog roast at Mom's place. We sat in the shade in the sweltering heat and enjoyed lemonade, baked beans, lettuce salad, braats roasted on a fork. Mom had a fresh raspberry pie on hand. Krysta made the blackberry cobbler.

Ellis dished up a bowl of amazing purple yumminess and took a spoonful. "It tastes just like summer in a bowl," was his happy comment.