It was a beautiful Sunday morning in May. The sun was shining bright on grandpa’s eleven-acre farm. The birds were singing, the rooster was yelling, and the sweet smell of syrup and fresh fruit filled the house. I finished combing my hair and began running down the long hallway of the four-bedroom, three-bathroom estate. I was a tiny seven year old, and everything on the farm seemed large to me. As I reached the corner, my grandfather was waiting for me. He quickly picked me up and launched me onto his shoulders.
“Grandma’s makin’ flapjacks, kiddo. You don’t wanna miss it now do ya?” he said.
Before he could fully let go of me, I leaped from his arms and ran to my grandmother. I wrapped my arms around her waist and looked up at her with loving eyes.
Her hair was tied neatly in a bow and covered with a black nylon wrap. Two curly bangs sprung out from the front, and locks of golden curls fell out the back. She was dressed in her best outfit; a nice fitted black dress with sunflowers on the trim. Covering it, was an apron that said, “world’s greatest grandma!” A gift I gave her for Christmas last year.
My grandpa sat me up in my chair, and like usual, made a happy face out of whipped cream and strawberries on my stack of pancakes. As he went to scoop out some jelly for our toast, he sucked his teeth in disappointment.
“Now, Helen, how in the world am I s’posed to eat my toast with no jelly?” he asked.
Grandma put her hands on her hips and said, “Just put it in yer mouth and chew!” she went back to flipping the rest of the pancakes. Grandpa nudged me in the side and said with a chuckle, “watch this.”
“You outta check and see if you got jelly before you fix me toast,” he said.
“Leonard Oswald!” she said, “I have no patience for fussing.”
My grandpa and I shared a quiet laugh and finished our breakfast.
While grandma and I finished cleaning the dishes, grandpa went out to finish his chores around the farm. There was so much to do, like milking the cows, gathering eggs, feeding the pigs, and watering the oak trees. When he was finished, he came in the house and told me he wanted to go for a ride. We hopped in his Chevy 3500 and headed down the old dirt road. About an hour later, we reached a sign that said, “Daisy Mae Fruit Farm.” The sweet aroma of strawberries took over my nose. The smell was so thick that my mouth began to drool. It was as fresh as when I bit into the strawberry at grandma’s house.
A petite young woman came running up to the truck as we pulled into the swale. “Oh, Leonard, you didn’t tell me she was so cute!” she said, squeezing my cheeks. We jumped out of the truck and started walking towards her house. “I’m Daisy. Daisy Mae. And this here is my farm.” She said. She grabbed my hand and showed me to the back. There were strawberry bushes as far as the eye could see. She gave me a basket and told me to pick my favorite ones.
Grandpa walked with me down each isle. The smell was so good it was almost unbearable. My grandpa snuck one for him and then did the same for me when I caught him. We walked the rows for a few minutes, when I stopped him in his tracks. “EEEEEEWWWW!” I yelled.
“What is it?” grandpa asked.
I pointed to my foot. The rotten strawberries from the ground smashed through my toes. The sticky red jam was hot and foul. Grandpa laughed at me and then helped clean it up.
After we finished picking our delicious produce, Daisy Mae wrapped them in a beautiful display basket. “Your grandma’s gonna love ‘em.” She whispered. She saw us off to the truck and I looked back at her and waved good-bye. She waved back and blew me a kiss. I curled up next to my grandpa and closed my eyes.
I was awakened by the smell of sweets in the kitchen. I jumped up and rubbed the sleep from my eyes. When I walked to the kitchen, grandma and grandpa were dancing to a faint tune on the radio. It was an Old Italian song. My grandma swept me off my feet and held me to her chest as she sang. Grandpa soon grabbed me from behind and hugged my grandma. We danced as one blob in the middle of the kitchen.
When the song was over, they both set me down. “Whatcha doin’?” I asked.
“Well, I told you I can’t eat no toast without my jelly, so we’re makin’ some.” Grandpa said.
He picked me up and sat me on the counter. He ran some water over my hands and helped me wash up. Then, he grabbed a bowl of strawberries and told me to mash them up good. We worked for what seemed like hours, and finally, the counter was filled with jars and jars of jelly.
Grandpa walked to the toaster, licking the last bit of jelly off his fingers. He popped two pieces in and watched them steadily. When they were just right, he turned it off and grabbed the toast. “Perfect.” He said. He brought the toast to the table and smeared some of our homemade jelly on it. He passed me a piece and we both took a bite. My taste buds felt like they were dancing. I could hardly control my salivary glands. Grandma joined us at the table and she too could hardly believe how good the jelly was. The three of us sat around the kitchen table eating piece after piece of fresh jelly covered toast. No one made a sound except for the occasional, “mmmmm.” With the radio playing soft Italian music, we just enjoyed every minute of each other’s company, and of course, the delectable taste of fresh strawberry jelly.