I can feel the sun in my hair. I reach up.
Warm hair feels like summer.
We are walking through the gated garden off to one side of the house. I tease her about the kind of vegetables that require a gated enclosure. She suggests to me that the local woodchucks are thieves.
“Oooh, look at this,
Pearl. Just look at this broccoli!” My mother shakes her head in wonder. “It was half this size yesterday.”
The broccoli in question reaches greenly toward the bright blue sky of a
summer. A barn swallow swoops in, lands
on a nearby shed to keep a beady eye on us.
I look down at my sandals, my purple-painted toenails, think about the four feet of snow that was at this very spot just three months ago.
I move on to the next row of plants. “Green beans?” I ask.
“Yes,” she says, but she is not looking at me. She is bent over the strawberry beds.
My father wanders on to the scene, grins at me. “You two looking at the plants? Mumma, you showing Pearl the garden?”
He states the obvious just to get a rise out of her, and she obligingly takes the bait. Married just a few months short of 50 years, on a good day their banter is the stuff of a stand-up comedy routine.
She looks up, squints into the sun. “Paul, so help me –”
She turns her attention back to the plants, gently palms a large strawberry, pale green on one end, red shading into pink on the other.
“Isn’t she a beauty?”
Funny Face wanders into the garden. A known mouser, a tortoiseshell cat with the demeanor of one who is well loved, she smiles at my mother and flops onto one side.
Even the cat loves summer.
I smile. “How big would you say that strawberry is, Mom?”
My mother, the woman who once described a rusty nail that had been driven up into my brother’s foot as “a strange way to get a new pair of shoes”, grins up at me.
“Oh,” she says, “I’d say that’s a good ‘un.”
A good ‘un.
Describes a lot.