Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Grapes of Friendship

The grapes are all picked and the jelly's in the jars. I ended up with about ten heaping ice cream buckets full of gorgeous dark ripe grapes. No, I didn't do wine. As I have mentioned, instructions and I don't get along. I had enough to think about with the jelly recipe. Had the wine recipe concluded with "abra cadabra," maybe I would have reconsidered. So, jelly it is. They are sitting on the counter, setting as we speak. They will be freezer/refrigerator jelly, no canning this year. Here are three of them, doing their thing:

The cosmos are hanging on for dear life. The zinnias seem to be hearkening to Dylan Thomas' plea to, "rage against the dying of the light." Their colors are still almost florescent they are so bright and many more buds waiting to bloom. I hope the frost holds off for awhile.

The winter squash, however, are getting ready for just such an event and then they will be ready to harvest. I also discovered several interesting looking gourds are hanging out under the vines. I look forward to using them for fall decorations and then maybe, just maybe, I will try my hand at creating some semblance of gourd art. That's a big maybe. I fear my eyes are bigger than my ability. But, it's fun to imagine the possibilities.

Penelope, the neighbor's calico cat, and I, scared the devil out of each other this morning. She was hiding under the squash vines, doing whatever cats do, when I showed up. She ran, I settled in to weed and take some pictures. It was a beautiful morning to be in the garden. I found one lone carrot while pulling up weeds, so I brought it back to the house with me and, for what was probably the last time this summer, washed my feet under the outdoor spigot before going inside. There was such a stark difference as I shut the door, leaving the outdoors behind, that I felt odd, as though the outdoors was where I felt most at home, and now I would have to get into a new, arriving-all-too-soon, hibernation mode. I munched on my carrot in noisy acceptance.

A couple of Sundays ago, while standing under the grape arbor, with a light rain falling on the canopy of leaves above me, the cell phone in my back pocket rang. It was Joey. A large clump of grapes in one hand and a life-long friend on the phone in my other hand. Life felt pretty good in that moment.

We met the summer we were 13. I was going to be moving and changing schools, she was a student at the new school. We were both hanging out in town, meeting up with some mutual friends, when she bounded up to me, introduced herself, and our life-long friendship began. It was as though we'd known each other forever and were meeting each other again, for the first time. Some friendships are like that. They're the ones that make you think about the Bigger Picture, just how long Have we known each other?

She has a sense of humor that makes me feel good about Life. Whenever we get together you can count on the laughs flying, merriment prevailing.  We tackle some tough subjects, too, but we always come back to seeing life through the lens of laughter. She and I attended the same high school, graduated from the same college, and both started out as teachers. She now works for the state park service here in Minnesota, and I'm sitting here, writing this.

Many years ago, maybe twenty now, I sent her a birthday card, which seemed to sum up my feelings about our friendship. She framed it and hung it on her wall. We still agree it fits:

What made us friends in the long ago
When we first met?
Well, I think I know;
The best in me and the best in you
Hailed each other because they knew
That always and always since life began
Our being friends was part of God's plan.

~George Webster Douglas 


  1. Love the grapes and the outdoor spigot!

  2. Teresa,
    Those grapes look good enough to eat Ha..(corny jokester). They make me think of good health and that brings happiness. I've tried to make jelly many times and it has never turned out. People have told me, more pectin, more lemon, more sugar.... I finally gave up. Yours looks perfect. I think you got the touch.

    I too, hope the frost stays away so your pretty flowers will be spared for a few more weeks.

    That is so neat that you have a life long friend. My wish for you is that it continues long into old age and the two of you will always share with each other, just as Marilyn and I do.

  3. Really good friends are hard to come by - you are fortunate.

    When I saw the title of this post it grabbed my attention because I'm reading The Grapes of Wrath for the first time. Loving it.

  4. Linda, You're getting ready to head out on a schooner from the coast of Maine and then time on Peak's Island. You dawg. I'm so jealous. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment...from Maine! Have Fun!

    Manzanita, I thought of your friendship with Marilyn as I wrote this. Good friends are an essential part of life.

    Gail, The Grapes of Wrath is such a great classic. Good for you. Yes, I wanted a healing twist on that idea.

    Nancy, thank you, so much.

  5. I keep getting service unavailable messages on google comments, wondering about a meltdown.

    so nice to have a friend like that.

    love that orange squash, just beautiful.

  6. HiLinda, I got some of thsat yesterday, but all is well here now. Computers. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  7. I'm back. IP is up. Your friend calls and grapes in the other hand. Can't be any better than that. You have such a beautiful garden. You made the right choice. Good to read you again. (Jack Matthews, Sage to Meadow)

  8. Jack! So good to hear from you again! I think I can speak for all of us and say, we missed you. Onward! T

  9. Those grapes look so delicious! Maybe you can make some wine next year!

    It's good to see and old friend. I have an old friend like that; when we meet it's like we have seen each other every day.

  10. A delightful, colourful post with so many natural "ingredients!" Obviously you and she are friends forever and that has such a great ring to it. The grapes looks unbelievable luscious.l

  11. Hello Grethe!

    Yes, perhaps wine next year. It is so nice to have friendships wherein no time ever seems to pass. One of the best things in life. Have a beautiful day, my friend!


  12. Hi Kate, Thanks for your comments. Yes, the grapes were sooo purple, nice to look at on the plate and on the vine. Friends Forever has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

  13. i have a JOeY, also. And our friendship has taken many turns and forms over the years, but she remains my grape jelly.

  14. Hi Michelle! I Love your thought. Yes, grape jelly!

  15. Beautiful Teresa. Friendships like this are so life-affirming. The other day my husband and I were sitting on the couch watching an episode of Six Feet Under on DVD. There was some reference to what happens to couples after so much time together. Changes happen at 6 months, 5 years, 7 years, etc... My husband looked at me and asked, "When you hear the question, -how long have we been together as a couple-, what do you think?" I thought it was some kind of trick question. I said, "Seven years" - because that's how long we've been married. He said, "I think- hundreds of years." And the way he said it was infinitely beautiful. His meaning nearly made me cry.

    On an unrelated note- I have a teacher named Marilyn who uses the pen name Manzanita... I find that synchronicity very interesting with your friend Manzanita and her best friend Marilyn...

  16. How wonderful, Kristy, that you have a life partner who Sees and Knows these things. And, of course, you would. :) I find the synchronicities around our friendship, and others who we're coming to know, are very affirming. Manzanita lived in MN. many years. Marilyn still does.

  17. Perhaps we could trade ~ some of my pickles for some of your yummy looking jelly! ;)

    xo Catherine

  18. Cat, Your post today is the definition of heart-warming!

  19. Kostas, I'm so pleased you've visited, thereby inviting me into your corner of the world. I have long been enchanted by Greece and the Greek Islands, but have never been. It is on my Life List. Your blogs create the most beautiful travelogue. I thoroughly enjoyed each one and will be back, many times. What a breath of fresh air they are and a reminder of what a beautiful world this is, inhabited by wonderful people. Thank You!

  20. a well deserved award awaits you on my blog, thanks for your blog.

  21. Every single photo on this post is perfect...those gourds/squash and the grapes and the flowers are gorgeous/yummy looking/beautiful. I do believe you have purchased a little slice of heaven, Teresa. Wow!