Friday, May 15, 2015

The Last of the Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

Last night, we ate the last of the strawberry-rhubarb pie that we had bought at the natural foods store in Paia. With ice cream, of course.

While savoring the delightful mixture of the two tastes, memories floated into my mind. Memories of picking and buying strawberries in my childhood and youth ... and during the childhood of my older children in both Canada and Ohio. 

I don't remember strawberries in Salem, the town in Southern Illinois where I was born and lived until I was ready to celebrate my ninth birthday. The strawberries I remember were those that were picked, somewhere, outside of Carmi - another little town in Southern Illinois -but I also have memories of a vegetable and fruit shed/stand just outside of Carmi on the road to Crossville. I can picture the shed in my memory: a long, low affair held up by posts every so often and containing tables of whatever was in season. The floor, of course, was dirt. We used to drive out there, my mother and me, to buy sweet corn that I can only dream of today and tomatoes, the taste of which, alas, is only a memory, and those sweet, succulent strawberries.

I cannot, however, recall the name of the place. Perhaps someone who reads this will remember. (Cook's?) I recall the "stand" as well as the two-story white house that stood across a field, prim and proper. Tall, growing out of the land. Weren't those Victorian/Edwardian farm houses grand? It seems there are fewer and fewer left.

Back in the days when I plied the highways of Southern Illinois and of Indiana and Ohio, driving back and forth between my mom's house in Carmi and my dad's house in eastern Ohio, I saw those "pioneer cemeteries," lonely sentinels on the landscape upon which various interstate highways had so rudely cut, that consisted not of gravestones but of a tableau: a few large shade trees growing in close proximity to each other in a field, the house that was once shaded by these trees alas now only a memory ...

But I digress. Other memories associated with strawberries and rhubarb: Eating strawberry shortcake as a kid (we always had those little sponge cake things you bought at the store, topped with sugar-drenched strawberries and Redi-Whip). Picking strawberries outside of Vancouver when my older kids were little. Eating strawberry glaze pie made from fresh berries. Enjoying Auntie Kay's rhubarb pie, so tangy yet sweet.

We don't eat many strawberries at home, but we've been enjoying locally-grown strawberries here in Maui, taking some to the beach to savor throughout the afternoon. And then, of course, that delicious home-made strawberry-rhubarb pie.

Speaking of the beach, here are a few pictures we've taken in the past few days.

This picture was taken yesterday. Again, it is difficult to convey what we actually saw, the vividness of the colors, the line on the horizon where sky meets sea, the sweep of the storm clouds.

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