Grocery shopping is one of those necessary evils, like laundry and house chores. I get it done, then collapse in a heap of OMG, I survived another Kroger's run. But yesterday I bought cherries. Yes, cherries, my saving grace.
Every year, I wait for this season not just for the weather (61 degrees in June! really??!!), but for the flowers and fruit. Cherries are a vice, I swear. How can any one fruit (except for sweet Georgia peaches) taste so wonderful? It's a struggle to parse them out, because I want to dive head first into the bag.
They also bring back a very early memory. My family bought a house when I was in preschool that had several mature cherry trees. I can still see the fruit falling on the driveway, the trees were so laden. My mother decided this was a waste, so she put me to work pitting the buckets-full she collected. I loved how the cherries stained my hands and nails a bright red. The next step involved making cherry preserves and pies. Now, my mother was not a die-hard kitchen fan. Cooking wasn't her forte, but she couldn't stand wasting all those cherries. I remember my dad getting involved in sealing jars with hot wax, the steamy kitchen, the counters filled with bowls of newly pitted cherries, my mother rolling pie crust.
That was a magical summer before my foray into first grade. Cherries filled my dreams. When I arrived in first grade, I was reluctant to leave that hot kitchen filled with wonderful smells and food. So I learned the art of daydreaming. After all, Dick and Jane led incredibly boring lives and had never pitted cherries. I rolled pie crusts in my mind. My teacher, young and pretty and prissy, was not amused. A conference with my mother ensued.
As my mother told the story, the teacher remarked, after introductions, "Well, now that I've met you, I understand Tracy." My mother wasn't sure whether she should be flattered or insulted. So she chose to be amused. After all, my mother was a college grad and pretty darn smart.
I promised my mother to hide my boredom. After all, I could read already, and that's all my mother cared about, not my prissy teacher's opinion. It all worked out in the end.
I still love cherries, and not only because of their flavor.