I love to garden, but I also love heading out to a pick-your-own farm to harvest seasonal bounties of berries, wildflowers, Fava beans, apples, pumpkins, and other goodies. The change of scenery is always a joy. On a good day, my daughter, husband, and I can find fruits and vegetables, of course, but also songbirds, ladybugs, chipmunks, rabbits, bees, butterflies, and beetles. And then there are stories like today’s, where the writer finds love in the garden.
Well, to be more precise, he had already found love. It might be more accurate to say he re-found love in the garden that he packaged up to bring out months later on a cold Winter day. If this sounds confusing, don’t worry. Once you read Raspberry Romance, from George M. Flynn, it will make a lot more sense.
This sweet short story reminds me that it’s often the simplest things that can have some of the biggest impacts on our lives and make some of the most memorable moments. Heading out to a pick-your-own raspberry patch is certainly one of those potential moments. I particularly enjoy the subtle humor in this story, and the reminder that love can grow throughout a life together. I hope you find this story as heartwarming and thought-provoking as I found it. Happy reading!
Enjoy So Many More Stories About Romantic Moments of Love in the Garden
This story comes from our archive that spans over 30 years and includes more than 130 magazine issues of GreenPrints. I love pieces like these that stand as reminders of how much a garden can mean beyond some favorite vegetables, delicious berries, or colorful flowers. I hope you enjoy it, as well.
Memories in a jar of jam.
By George M. Flynn
Many pick-your-own farms dot the New Jersey countryside where we live. One of our favorites is Valley View Farm, where we harvest the sweetest, juiciest red raspberries around. Carole and I arrive early on an August morning, before the throngs show up.
“It’s been a mild summer. Do you think winter’ll be colder than normal?” I ask while we pick.
“I hope not,” Carole replies.
“I’ve already cut four cords of wood, so we’ll be prepared.”
“The grandkids are coming Saturday. They’ll be spending the week,” Carole reminds me.
“Maybe I’ll get them to weed the flower-beds. I’ll pay them.”
“George, you know they hate weeding.”
I change the subject. “Carole, watch out for those wasps,” I warn. “The berries’ sweetness attracts them—just like your sweetness attracted me all those years ago. I don’t say it enough, but I love you, Carole. I wouldn’t know what to do without you.”
Carole blows me a kiss. I love flirting with my wife in the berry patch! Makes me feel young again.
“See that happy couple over there with the three school-age kids?” I ask. “They look like us decades ago, don’t they?”
“George, stop traveling down Memory Lane. And stop eating half of what you pick!”
I increase production. We pick five full pints, pay, and exit.
Once home, Carole washes the berries and cooks them down with sugar and pectin to make the most delicious jam. After funneling the jam into jars, we process them in a hot-water bath. The lids later pop, signaling the jars have safely sealed. After labeling the jars, I line them up on the pantry shelf.
Unfortunately, winter arrives early, frigid with successive arctic blasts from Canada. I stoke the embers in the woodstove, open the vents, and add kindling. Soon the fire flares up, and I toss in two big pieces of oak.
In the kitchen, Carole makes breakfast. She pops open a jar of summertime red raspberry jam. I slather some on her hot buttermilk pancakes.
Carole lifts a jar in her hand and conducts an impromptu Alzheimer’s check: “George, do you remember when we picked these red raspberries?”
“Of course. It was early August, it was a beautiful day, and we were at Valley View Farm.” Then I add, “And you, do you remember what I said?”
Carole smiles, but doesn’t speak.
“I always will,” I say. ❖
By George M. Flynn, published originally in 2016, in GreenPrints Issue #104. Illustrated by Linda Cook Devona
Do you have any stories about finding love in the garden? Or re-finding love, like the author of today’s story?