When I was a little girl living in Hawaii my parents sent my brother and I on an airplane, alone, to spend summers with my grandparents in Northern Minnesota. I dreaded those summer getaways… all I could think of was spending my summer with “old” people, out in the middle of nowhere, with absolutely nothing to do. It was time spent in the garden, stealing apples from old man Marco’s apple tree, dirt road rides in search of wild critters, hanging out at the lake diving for clams, and walking down the street to the corner store to buy penny candy. Oh, and, yes, going to the annual polka festival. A night out to eat was to the local Bonanza, where all I longed for was the lollipop at the end of my meal.
To top it all off, I was somehow taught, led to believe, that growing your own food or buying local was embarrassing, going beneath yourself. I vividly remember my grandfather coming home one day with local strawberries. All I could do was laugh at the thought that Minnesota strawberries were so much better than a strawberry from elsewhere (like I was some expert that strawberries from a tropical island were so much better). I also remember being so critical over a fireworks show in town, thinking how could such a local celebration be so much better than seeing one in a huge city like New York City?
As I write this blog I am amazed at how much I disliked those times. How could I not have appreciated and enjoyed all that I did, and learned? It’s so sad.
Here I am today living in a simple home, with a few acres, out in the country in Maine. The life I have today is actually is no different than my grandparents. Gardens, fruit trees, fishing, hunting, buying local, and supporting community efforts. I have come full circle. Everything old is new again. The passion I have for this lifestyle, for me and for my family is deep. It is important to myself and to my husband. Shouldn’t our kids know that locally grown food is so much better than food grown thousands miles away? Shouldn’t our kids know the importance of where our food comes from? Shouldn’t our kids know basic outdoor skills? Shouldn’t our kids experience green trees and fresh air?
I wish I could go back in time and enjoy my Minnesota visits more. I wish I could tell my grandparents how much those visits influenced who and where I am today. I only hope that both are looking down at me from above smiling… and, of course, shouting, “I told so”‘!