Beliefnet
Rod Dreher

strawberries.jpgThis week, Julie and I have our niece Hannah staying with us. Hannah is my sister Ruthie’s 17 year old daughter. It’s a real treat for us to have her around. On Friday, I’m taking the day off, and we’re going to show her and our kids around Independence Hall, and other historic sites in Philadelphia — places none of us have ever seen. (It’s great to have houseguests from out of town, because that makes us get off our duffs and see the great things we have in our city). Yesterday Julie learned about a strawberry farm just outside city limits that invited the public to come picking. She packed up the kids and Hannah, and off they went. Not such a good idea to do after three days of rain, as they discovered. But it was a fun time anyway. I can’t wait for the local fruits and vegetables to start coming in to the farmer’s markets! What are you seeing — and eating — where you live?
Matthew picked a strawberry that looks like Africa (see the blurry iPhone photo I took). Julie said, “If only you’d found one that looked like Jesus, we’d be rich.” You wanna buy the Africa strawberry? Let me know, else I’m gonna eat it.
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Last night at dinner, Hannah thanked me for sending her a copy of Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast,” and said, “I dunno, Uncle Rod, sometimes I think France is where I need to be.” I nearly choked on my Beaune! Tell me more, young lady. So we talked, and she quoted a line from “A Moveable Feast” about life in Paris in the Twenties, and how when she gets fed up with all the storm and stress of life at home, she just imagines living there, and feels better. I told her, “I did exactly the same thing when I was your age.” Which was true. I told her the story of our ancestors Lois and Hilda, who had grown up on a farm where both Hannah and I are from, and who lived in France and served in the Red Cross during the First World War. She had no idea. Later, she asked, “What does Champagne taste like?”
Aunt Julie and I just looked at each other and smiled. That’s a question we can answer definitively with very great relish. We shall invite the Widow over to dinner this weekend. What a privilege to be present for our niece’s first taste of Champagne!
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