When I was a little girl growing up in California, there would be times that my brother and I would get the occasional cold or flu. Being the pesky eaters that we were, my Mom was forced to administer our medicine through food. The food she chose was concord grape jelly.
It was no secret that she was doing it, in fact we often watched her mash up the pills and mix it into the dark jelly. So perhaps it was knowing that the medicine was in there or perhaps the medicine was too detectable to our pesky palettes, but either way, grape jelly eventually became associated with medicine and sickness.
Through the years and long after my brother and I began taking medicine like grown-ups, the association between concord grapes and sickness lingered. In fact, every time I found concord grape jelly or juice on the table, I was always reminded of that bad medicine taste in my mouth when I was a child.
When my husband and I first walked our property, we noticed the two twenty-foot rows of grape vines up in the south field. We would learn later that they were concord grapes. The previous owners planted and harvested them for none other than...concord grape juice and homemade concord grape jelly.
Over the past two and half years we've been here, we've nibbled on a few of the grapes around fall time but we've always been too busy with the house stuff to actually harvest them. Until now.
Walking out to check on them throughout the past month, I have been astounded by their aroma. Standing between the rows of vines, the strong smell of grapes was astounding.
So as I was plucking the grape bundles from their vines, one after another, in the beautiful fall sunshine, I thought about my childhood memory and knew that from that day forward the association of concord grapes with medicine and sickness would from then on be replaced with the memory of this beautiful fall day... plucking grapes from old vines under the soft fall sun.