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  • Writer's pictureDawn

Sweet Smelling Memories

From my memoirs

After a hectic day at work and taking care of the kids, the smell of the blueberry muffins baking in the oven stops me in my tracks.  It’s a smell that I remember so well.

Mom made almost everything from scratch.  With five children, a house and only one income, budgeting money for food and clothing was essential.  We grew a lot of things in our garden.  Fresh vegetables such as beans, asparagus, carrots, beets and corn were among the many staples.  From our trees we plucked apples and pears.  But one of our most beloved fruits grew not in our garden, but in the “wild” of our property. 

Scattered among the woods of our twenty-three acre lot were clusters of wild blueberry patches.  When it was time to gather the berries, we were each given an old tin can with a wire handle.  I don’t know where these tin cans came from.  Some were rusted and crusty – but that did not matter for the task we were set out to do.  Once in the woods, we each went our separate ways to find the berries.  Picking berries was a solitary event even though we were not usually very far apart from one another.  We returned home when our buckets were full.

I remember one year when I found an especially abundant patch of bushes.  I plunked myself down right in the middle and sat for an hour or two with my “find”.  Just being out in the woods with no distractions other than the occasional bug or fly was peaceful and joyous.  You could hear birds chirping and rustling about for insects in the leafy piles left which had dropped from the trees.  Lost in my own thoughts, time passed by while berries were dropped one by one in my little tin bucket.   I filled my bucket to the brim that day – what a glorious find for me!  I’d only had to move inches at a time in that one little cluster of bushes to achieve that task!

Walking slowly back up the hill towards home, I felt great satisfaction.  Spending time alone out in the woods has that effect on one’s soul. 

As mom collected the berries from everyone, we couldn’t wait to taste whatever it was she might make with those berries.  It could be muffins, or pie, or another family favorite called blueberry grunt – made by cooking a whole lot of berries topped with biscuit dough in the oven until the concoction was hot and bubbling up. 

“Mom, is dinner ready yet?” my daughter, Sara asks. 

I smile as I turn to her and say, “Pretty soon, sweetie.”  I smile inside and hope that I can instill some sweet smelling memories in her memory banks as well. 

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