As a kid, a part of my summer break would be spent preparing for our annual family cookout. It was somewhat a regional family reunion for my dad's folks but later incorporated my mom's too. In the preparations, besides cleaning the house and yard, there would be the daunting task of picking peaches. This task served multiple purposes. The most rewarding was the homemade peach ice cream my mom would make. Mind you there was no electric churn. We all took turns cranking the handle. The younger ones would churn when the batter was in a milky state, but older ones took over when it started to freeze. Her ice cream has always been a highlight of the event. The other purpose was to salvage as much fruit as we could because many would get knocked off the tree during the volleyball game, or slammed during the kickball game, or just bumped off by kids running around.
It has been years since we've had the cookout. The last one the year before my dad took ill with leukemia. He was the main stimulus for the event. The participants of my paternal and maternal family grew to include family friends also. The last one was so large, a community center was rented to house everyone. Besides the lack of parking, we realized as we grew older that it was TOO HOT in Central Georgia to do this outside.
Last year that old tree, "peached out". Too old to hold peach-laiden branches. Now it's trunk is just a reminder of old times. Fortunately, a squirrel, chipmunk, 'possom, stray cat, or whatever creature must have predicted the demise of that old tree years ago and planted a pit in another flower bed. That pit has grown to produce another generation of Georgia Cling peaches.
As I walked around my mom's yard the other day, searching for rippened fruit, I was saddened that the few that remained were still green. But hope emerged, her patio blueberry shrubs were ready to be picked, washed, and consumed.
Now I cannot have my much-awaited peaches, I'll just have to settle for home-grown fresh blueberry cobbler.
Side note: That old tree produced so many peaches, one summer I opted for a peach sandwich (peaches, mayo, and bread) one day when the sandwich meat was frozen. It was actually good.
5 hours ago