A Porch of My Own

A Porch of My Own

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Summer of Peaches

Seventeen years ago my husband Rickie and I were waiting on the call that would send us hurrying to Mississippi. My beloved stepfather-in-law, Frank, lay dying. Unsure if we were needed right away or if we would be needed for the long haul, we tried to fill our time working. We had the beginnings of what would become our orchard and garden. It was a big patch of prickly pear at that time with 2 small peach trees.

(Frank and grandkids in photo; Sarah is in the middle.)

Frank’s family had been peach growers. He wasn’t in this business when I knew him but some of his relatives were still growing peaches that they sold at roadside stands near Meridian. Never had I seen peaches like these. They were as big as small cantaloupes. On our summer visits to my mother-in-law Dot’s house we could count on some of her homemade peach ice cream and peaches to bring home for peach jam and peach cobblers.

Those were good summers with the days passing by slowly as they seem to do in the country. We would get up late and eat breakfast. Then Dot would ask Sarah, our daughter, if she wanted her nails done. That would fill another hour or so (nails were done at home then, not at a nail salon), then we would get dressed and make the trip to “town”. The afternoons were spent on the back porch as our ice cream churned away in the kitchen. We would usually begin to peel and put up for the freezer the peaches we had gotten to take home. I will always associate Dot with putting up peaches. She taught me the trick of putting them in boiling water for a few seconds to get the skins off. We talked and laughed and enjoyed the escape from the hectic city life we lived the rest of the year. If we were lucky Rickie’s sister would be there with her kids. Those were good times.

But these days before we lost Frank weren’t good times. Rickie and I worked furiously in the garden hoping that keeping our hands busy would shut down our minds. I dug prickly pear by the wheelbarrow full while Rickie worked on putting the irrigation lines in that would keep our little peach trees alive when we were not at the ranch. We were tense and short with each other. Sarah stayed out of our way lost in her own grief over the grandfather she loved so.

Finally we could stand it no longer and put our tools up, packed up and headed back home to get ready to go to Mississippi. Frank and Dot’s house was full of family so we got a motel room in Meridian. That call we had been waiting on came to us in our hotel room during the night.

The view from my front porch looks out over the peach trees we planted that year Frank died. We have had several other peach trees but only the two original ones still survive. As Sarah and I picked the best peach crop we have had in years, my thoughts turned as they always do to Frank and Dot and those summers when time slowed down and we laughed and ate peach ice cream and peeled peaches.

We processed 300 pounds of peaches from those two trees this year. I made peach jam and peach cobbler and put peaches in the freezer. Sarah and I sat on the porch peeling peaches, with Frank’s Rafter M brand on the shelf over our heads. For a while time slowed down again.

(Dot, Sarah, Kasey, Frank, and Sue in Dot's kitchen on a summer morning in photo)


  1. This made me tear up a little. I was just telling Justin the other day about how great Frank was. :C

    Thank you for posting this. I like reading your stories and family history.

  2. It made me cry writing it. I intended to write just about the peaches but this just popped into my mind.

  3. You're really good at this blogging thing.

  4. Reading it made me cry. Those were definately good times. Mom said I was in your blog, sure didn't think it would be about Frank. :`-) Can't wait to get my signed copy of your first book, you undoubtedly have a talent. :) Much love from this coast. - Kasey