Magazine article Sunset

Paradise Revisited

Magazine article Sunset

Paradise Revisited

Article excerpt

IS SUMMER A LITTLE BIT OF HEAVEN? I GREW UP THINKING IT WAS

In the tiny Kansas prairie town where I spent my early years, we always had a big garden. In my eyes, it was a cornucopia of feasts. And it was also where I managed my first independent meal.

It happened early one morning. The sun was bright, the house very quiet. The air had a soft, velvety feeling that promised a sizzling day - and set my heaven-on-earth thoughts in motion. Soon the ground would be hot enough to scorch bare feet. Time to get moving. Without waking my baby brother in the next bed, I slipped out of my own, and wiggled from nightshirt into playsuit.

Still no sounds.

Anxious to move on, I gently opened the back door and slipped out. From the steps, I could see strawberries in the garden, gleaming like giant rubies. Settling down between two rows, I breathed deeply, inhaling the perfume of strawberries warming. One berry at a time, I selected the reddest, the biggest, and the most perfect, neatly rubbed their dust on my clothes, and had a breakfast that's never been matched.

Just as I was blissfully satisfied, Mother came flying out the door with a worried look, calling my name.

As her eyes caught mine, a frown quickly followed the expression of relief. Then came the lecture - leaving the house alone broke a big rule. I took the scolding meekly, comforted by thoughts of my meal. Even now, I can almost smell and taste those berries.

Living with that garden gave me a lasting appetite for fresh perfection, and a special affection for a lopsided supper. …

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