Silence…except for my footsteps crunching on the leaf-strewn path yesterday. Then I noticed a rustling in the trees’ branches as the wind kicked up a bit and sent a refreshing mist down as I passed underneath.
It was Labor Day and I was somewhat surprised that the Alexandria Community Park wasn’t already full of families and picnic baskets. What I heard next clued me in to a possible reason why. Hearing our National Anthem ringing out through the woods reminded me that our County Fair & Horse Show was wrapping up its six days of festivities just over the ridge.
On the drive home I passed right by the entrance and pulled over to snap a photo of the sign, thinking it might remind me to see if the grandchildren would want to go next year.
That’s when memories of being in the midst of other fun-seeking families came to mind. It was 1988-ish and I had finished a couple of days leading focus groups in Tampa, Florida. Chris (before he was Hubby) had flown down to meet me and we were enjoying our visit with his sister Diane and brother-in-law Paul. The only disappointment was the rain that went on for days.
They were working and we didn’t want to sit around inside, so we decided to head out on a brief road trip. What awaited us after we drove a half-hour east to Plant City was more than we could have imagined.
It seemed like it might be just a few booths with a few strawberries to sample, but the Florida Strawberry Festival was a major event! There were strawberry-themed rides, gifts and food…lots of food. We stayed all day, taking in all the fun.
As evening approached and the raindrops finally stopped, we realized we had (almost) filled up on strawberry shortcake, chocolate-dipped strawberries, strawberry lemonade and milkshakes as well as the scrumptious strawberry dessert pizza.
There was, however, just enough room left for trying the most unusual hamburger either of us had ever experienced. That griddle-fried burger was topped with crumbles of strawberry cookies, sandwiched between two pieces of French toast and topped with strawberries. May not sound like much, but if memory serves, it was delicious!
On the way out of the Festival grounds, we loaded up our rental car with two flats of fresh strawberries. Several of the 16 quarts were shared with our host family and sampled by other passengers on the plane ride home. Can you believe we were allowed to just walk onto the plane with “loose” berries and stow them in the overhead bins?!
When 7 year old daughter Sara’s Dad brought her back to my house and they saw the kitchen counters covered with berries, they both devoured handfuls. Chris’ boys Jason and Brian stopped over and finished off a few quarts too. You would think we might have all gotten our fill, but no.
Strawberries are still a favorite in our family a generation later. Sara’s sons Oliver and Lincoln always enjoy the hunt, like at this local farm’s field.
We’ve even added two more garden plots to our backyard plantings just for berries. When the grandchildren are picking them from Gramma and Pawpaw’s patch, most of the red jewels are eaten before they ever reach the bottom of the bucket.
As Oliver says, “Pick one, eat one.” Lincoln has his own system: Pick one in each hand. Eat two!
Who’s ready for a berry?
I’d love to support you in capturing your berry good memories of delicious moments spent with family and friends. Let’s get started today!
Your JOTTINGS for Generations Coach
Capturing Moments That Matter…Energizing Your Reminiscence…Passing It On!