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COLUMNS

The Taste of Love

Sandy Jordan
Neosho Daily News

It’s seed catalog time. Brightly colored, cheerful and packed with memories. It begins the search. for the first crocus and daffodils, Small tiny yellow ones, their bright faces often framed by snow. Like a light, they promise warmth is coming, life will return. Time to start the seeds in their little cups.

About the time potatoes, onions, peas and lettuce are ready to plant, the second round of crocus comes. Bigger purple ones, lighter yellow ones and tiny grape hyacinths. Easter is coming, time to celebrate Christ’s resurrection. The wild plum will be blooming, their scent heavy on the breeze. Following closely will be the Red Buds.

Then will come the giant white ones, those that are stripped and Star Flowers. The peonies will be growing lush, the Iris beards waiting to unfurl. Time to think of tomato, peppers and corn. Wild strawberries, rhubarb, mushrooms and May apples and the testimonial trees...the Dogwoods with the crucifixion remembered in every bloom...comes next.

Sunshine, warmth and longer days. I can start attending evening services once again. The Begonias will be blooming on the porch beside prolific Pinks. This love of seasons began with a penny packet of seed. Mama always bought that little packet for me to learn the joy of watching things grow, anticipating the taste of love completed.

I remember the smell of corn beginning to tassel as I wandered through a jungle of green stalks, stalks way above my blond head. Mama always had a garden wherever we lived. She always canned, froze and created food to make the mouth water.

Did I love better the warm, sweetness of freshly sliced watermelon or the tangy squirt of ripe tomatoes plucked from the vine? I raised my children with the cycle of the seasons, we had our gardens and the grandchildren helped grandma with eager anticipation. Gardens was the taste of love, even on the coldest, grayest days when life was suspended, the earth on vacation.

. Wrapped inside these catalogs are a world of memories, faces gone. Daddy’s red peonies and spouses mushrooms. My birthday was the start of his quest for their hiding places. A taste I acquired. I did not acquire the taste for the hot peppers he and his mom grew. One year I planted yellow peppers. I did not know they were hot peppers. He came up from the garden with one in his hand inquiring if they were “hot”. I didn’t know. I told him him no, he popped it in his mouth, within seconds he began the race to find water!

I have containers of strawberry plants, two long planter boxes on stilts made by a neighbor, and a desire to plant a truck patch. I can’t, I have no help to tend it. My neighbor brush-hogs my yard. I remember the taste of love as I lay soggy pages aside. The taste of love on my memories tongue as warm as sun ripened wild strawberries.

-Sandy Jordan is a local writer and a founding member of The Crowder Quill literary magazine. She writes a weekly column, Bits and Pieces, for The Neosho Daily News.