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i still remember

I Still Remember…

~Excerpt from “Childhood Sanctuary” by C L Gillmore

In a row next to the forsythia bushes are several clusters of peonies, in pink, rose and white. I stop, bend down and cup one of the multi-petaled flowers between my hands and inhale. The perfume is sweet…permeating and envelops my face like an evaporation of sugar water. Black ants crawl over the unopened buds and onto my fingers and hands. I shake them off. Grandma told me they were good ants because they help to open the hard, round buds each spring so the flowers can bloom—those hard, round buds I cut off one morning to make pretend soup.

I gathered things from Grandma’s kitchen that morning…shears and a round blue and white enamel dishpan. Inside the dishpan I placed a long-handled metal spoon, two soup bowls, two soup spoons, two tea cups, two cloth napkins and an embroidered dishtowel…and headed out toward the peony bushes. I cut off each round bud with the shears and dropped them into the big dishpan, added water from the garden hose and mixed it with that big metal spoon. I tried a pretend taste and added some pretend salt and pepper. Delicious.

I carried two wooden lawn chairs from the back porch and dragged an old metal washtub from Grandpa’s shed for our table and arranged them under the persimmon tree with the washtub in the middle and a chair on each side. I covered the washtub with the dishtowel, set the peony bud soup in the middle with the big metal spoon resting inside of the pan. Then I placed a soup bowl, napkin, soup spoon and teacup on opposite sides of the washtub…and went to get my grandma.

There were no beautiful peonies to see or touch or smell that particular spring. But I remember Grandma smiled and told me how lovely everything looked and tasted as we sat under the backyard persimmon tree and shared my peony bud soup. She made me smile too.”