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Summer…is here. What does that mean? It might mean family reunions with lots of cousins and new babies and tables of home prepared food and catching up and saying goodbye while your heart is full once again, full of familiar love and thankfulness. It could mean a sudden call from a faraway friend that will drop in for a short visit on their way to somewhere or just because. It might mean loading up the car with snorkels and sunscreen and heading to Florida for a week of beach time. It could mean tousled haired children waking up a bit late, hungry for breakfast and happy to be home. Whatever summer is to you, it is at our doorstep.

Of all mentioned, I have had only one occurrence thus far; I had my ‘last roommate before Skip’ visit this past week. Kerry and I had not seen each other for probably decades, she lives in Florida now. But there she was, older of course, but she was as if I had seen her just yesterday…tell me what is better than old friends? When old friends meet again, it is as though our youth comes to ‘visit’, we remember those days with clarity when we visit with someone who was ‘there’ with us…nothing can replace those ‘old’ friendships, those bonds of youth when our lives were in their summer season, when the big world was waiting for our next move, waiting for our passion and energy, much like summer, waiting for new growth and bountiful promises.

And speaking of cousins…Skip had a birthday this past Thursday, my cousin, Gary Newman, and The Bucks were playing at Feed and Seed. His daughter, Natalie, and grandson, Ben, were in town from Florida…we all went. Wanting to go was not unexpected, but deciding to go and leaving within 30 minutes of that decision was a bit of a task! For some, this might not seem like a huge effort, but for us, seven of us, it was. Spontaneity seems to work best for our family, simply because I mostly fail at planning. And you know what Robert Burns said…’the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry’…so, there you go, why bother? Anyway, it was a wonderful decision, and our sudden effort was well worth it. Cousins are the best; they link us to our families as only they can do.

All this mention of summer must include the bounty the earth is so generously giving us right about now. It seems the last killer freeze has disturbed the timing a bit, however. Oddly, I am picking a few LSU Purple Figs in early June; usually this tree bares at the end of June. And, I am sad to say, there were no orange blossoms this past Spring but, thankfully, my cumquats have flowers. Like most of you, I lost a few citrus trees…two days of below freezing took years of growth; I am still distraught about that. But, there is an abundance of cucumbers and peppers and fresh herbs and lots of zinnias, so, I need not complain. Mother Nature does as she sees fit and I can only appreciate and enjoy what she gives.

I close with a heartfelt wish for this upcoming summer to be a season of carefree spontaneity and welcome surprises…call your cousins.

Pam Shensky

Berry Tales

June 11, 2023

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