Ok, it is that time of year. Time to plant our little garden. Little for sure compared to the gardens or truck patches we had as children. The garden behind our house was huge compared to the way we are doing it now. We now have tomatoes around the pool and in beds in the backyard. Really all we have time for anyway. There are enough at this to have plenty to eat and I have managed to put a few in jars for chili and soups in the winter. The ones I can are so much better than the ones you get in the grocery store. The flavor is tart as a tomatoe is supposed to be. People who don't like tomatoes, still blows my mind. One good thing, even people who don't eat them love to plant them and watch them grow. Those of us that love them make those who don't want to, because we make them look so ummy......
In the days I was growing up there were rows and rows of tomato plants. We we canned them we picked them in five gallon buckets. Taking on a day of putting up tomatoes was work way beyond the small chore of doing it the way I now do. As always the day for this job was planned in advance. The tomatoes had to be good and ripe. We had picked them every day and placed them on a large old table under the apple tree, for ripening. That planned morning the task at hand begun. Out to the apple tree table I would go. I took a large was tub and loaded it down with very ripe tomatoes. The tub was heavy so I dragged it across the driveway to the carporch of our house. There I pulled the waterhose to the tub and covered the tomatoes with water. The system used was the one Grandmother used and it was the only right system to me at the time.
We put on an apron from the kitchen. We had many of them, because Grandmother made them using the bottom skirts of old dresses. The bonnets we wore in the garden were also made from scraps of fabric, dresses, shirts and maybe a piece that someone had given her that was left. It could have been a piece left from a dress she had made for me. Easter dresses were always my favorite. That was the sure time of year I was going to get my new dress for the summer. I also got to go to town and get a new pair of shoes. This pair of shoes was to be worn to church every Sunday all summer long.
One of my favorite Easter dresses ever was light green polyester. It was plain to begin with solid green. My dresses were so planned that I can still remember each one of the today. Grandmother made the dress and decided that it needed something more. To this day light green and pink together are two of my favorite color combinations. The collar of the dress was pointed. On each point of the collar she tacked a pick flower that she took from an old nightgown Aunt Elaine brought to me when she visited from Orlando Florida. It was always neat to me that I had an aunt that lived in Florida. The pink flower on the collar was so pretty to me. I was happy with that. Grandmother still thought it needed one more thing. She found a piece of pink cotton material and made a bow to tie and tack to the center of the neck. Thus I had another wonderful Easter dress.
One Easter when I was older my dress was off white cotton with black berry prints on it. Both black ripe blackberries and red not ripe. It was the prettiest fabric I had ever seen. The pattern Grandmother used was simple as most patterns she used were. If the pattern was very complicated she would just alter it to her liking. Fabrics of the past stand out in my memory. There are a couple of quilts that are still around that I can pick out which one of my dresses was cut into quilt pieces. Even one of the quilts has stitching that my daddy stitched. I can still pick out his section of the quilt after forty years.
The immediate family consisting of Mama, Daddy, my little brother and I were rescued by my grandmother when I was seven. We came from up north when Daddy had lost our house, because he drank too, much to keep his job. My grandmother and them were well known in the rural southern community. The neighbors and relatives were ready to give her what ever she might could use for feeding and clothing my family. Hand me down clothes were always exciting to me. There are many that I wish I still had today. Grandmother was frugile to say the least. A ladies adult suit could be cut down to a size seven little girls if you were my grandmother. There was a maroon cotton skirt and jacket worn by my thin small middle aged great aunt, she cut down for me. I wore it with the greatest of pride. It had black and brown mingles giving the appearence of paint brush strokes. It was the seventies and it gave me all the style a seven year old ever wanted.