Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Scent of Peaches

I've been putting up a bushel of peaches for the freezer. There is something soothing about the strong sweet smell that transports me back in time.

I remember eavesdropping on my grandmother and her sisters. They were in my grandmother's bedroom in the house on Abercorne Street in Savannah, GA. My great aunt Emmy Jo had come up from Florida with a box of mangos and oranges from her grove. Great aunt Baby Dear had come from Tennessee and had stopped in Spartanburg for a few bushels of peaches. It must have been summer. In my memory, their gatherings were always garnished with fruit and the work that went into putting the fruit up for the winter.

I can hear them talking, sisterly, about mango peelings and rashes. One of the sisters would take a rash from peeling mangoes, which are related somehow to poison ivey, they said. I don't think that's true, somehow, but it sounded right at the time and I felt I had learned something special.

They are in the bathroom washing their hands and giggling. I am very small and sitting on my grandmother's rice bed with the nobbly white bedspread and wondering if she has any rock candy in her dresser. She always did. I think about the peaches and wonder if my grandfather will whittle monkeys from the peach pits as he sometimes did for me.

Today, the scent of peaches clings to my hands like gloves. I inhale the scent and for a moment I am five.


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