A moment in childhood shifted my thinking. Beautiful beams of light raining through the canopy of vines. Thousands of lives changed that day as a violent storm ripped through the Florida coastline. Nearly 300 miles from the eye of the storm my wonderment transformed by the action of a loving mother and how she carefully shaped my life.On this special day I want to recognize my own mother who has taught me to be adventurous and inventive.
One of my fondest memories of this wonderful woman go back to the year 1992. Because the path of a hurricane is unpredictable schools all across the state of Florida were closed. My mother and two sisters hid in the safety of our home on Lake Alice while the winds came in brief gusts and died down for a long still pause.
Dead silence carried on for hours between the tail ends of hurricane bands that passed over head, it was so calm that my mother ventured out onto the lake and along the tree line that was thickly blanketed with grape vines. In all the years that we lived on the property this is the only time that I can recall wild grapes growing on the vines; naturally we had to try them. The tiny dense clusters of grapes snapped easily from the vine and hung like emerald jewels across the landscape as far as the eye could see. I imagined myself in another world, a place not so different from the jungle in King Solomons Mines.
My Mother, taught us to be resourceful, had us gather as many grapes as we could. We spent the next few days learning how to make grape jelly. The first batches came out runny, but we had bushels of grapes to practice with. For the months that followed we gave mason jars of jelly to loved ones and put jelly on everything. I can recall some years later cleaning out the pantry to find a few jars tucked away. The jelly was just as sour that many years later and the memory is just as sweet. She showed us how to teach ourselves nearly 19 years ago by learning how to make jelly together. I wish I could have known then how lovely a life she gave us but I will have to settle for knowing it now and hoping that my children can have some of the same mystery, imagination, and know-how instilled in their youthful days.