By Paris Wolfe, Blogmaster, The Herb Society of America
After a four-week hiatus, I’m refreshed and re-energized. Before I launch into herb-centric posts, I’d like to share my reflection on an intense, emotional week.
We buried my grandmother this week. She would have been 98 in a three weeks. It was her time to pass, though we earthbound spirits were sad to see her go.
She gave birth to 12 kids and raised 11. I was one of 23 grandchildren and gave her two of her 23 great grandchildren. Her family lived on my grandpa’s income as a coal miner and road crew, supplemented by their small sustainability farm – from fruits and vegetables to livestock and hunting. By living simply and close to the earth they paid off their four-bedroom farmhouse, avoided debt and managed to save enough for her to live and die in her own home.
This wasn’t a fashionable hipster lifestyle choice. It’s what they did to survive; and they did it well.
In her humble, God-fearing ways she was a role model for many outside the family, though I suspect our large, extended family is related to everyone in Northern Cambria County, Pennsylvania.
I can’t even imagine the changes she saw in nine decades of life. One time she told me she felt as though we’d jumped from the horse and buggy to the airplane without pause. Think about the speed of change from 1918 to the mid-1980s when she said that and you can understand why she’d felt overwhelmed. I can’t even imagine the technological shocks of the new millennium.
Her passing makes me reflective. My favorite memories of her involve food. Her gardens. Her fruit trees and bushes. Her kitchen. Her table. Her homemade bread, chocolate cookies, apple pies. Her shelves of canned goods in the cellar.
She showed me that food is a journey as well as a destination. She showed me that the table is the altar of family. Because of her, gardening is part of my DNA. And, that is why my herb garden has been so precious to me.
Thank you grandma Rita C. Wolfe. Rest in Peace. I love you.
Who has inspired your gardening journey? I’d love to know.