Friday, July 29, 2011


The taste of fresh red raspberries will never ever fail to immediately transport me to summer, circa 1977, to my grandparents' house by Lake Ontario in Rochester, New York.

I have sweet memories of their above-ground pool, and the multitude of berry bushes that surrounded the pool and deck and lined the edges of their smallish yard. My brother and I would swim in their pool, and then, wrapped in our towels, we'd stand carefully among the bushes and pick and eat berries until we could eat no more. My grandfather, slightly stooped, always tan, and smelling of old cigarette smoke and after-shave, would help us find the biggest, juiciest ones. I remember some of them being as big as my thumb, dark red and bursting. We had to pick them gently, sliding them off their stems and popping them in our mouths, our hands stained red by the juice.

Ever since, and especially now that Grampa is gone and I am older, the taste of red raspberries has been a passport to those days, like a time machine in its immediacy.

That was before, this is since then.

Before we moved to Florida, and before the pool was dismantled and a new one put in, before the deck was taken down, and before they built the house next door. Before my uncle got married and moved into Grandma and Grandpa's original house, before the garden went in, and before some of the bushes got ripped out.

That was before my grandpa passed away.

Since then, I eat fresh red raspberries every summer and remember being seven and picking berries with my Grampa in the yard, and I think that this year, we should try again to get the berry bushes to grow, so my kids can pick and eat until they can't eat anymore.