|Dreams have a way of reconnecting us to things long forgotten. Perhaps, it's a group of kids playing that reminds us of a long, lost friend from Summer Camp in 1975, or a bite of a hamburger that can trigger memories of the local greasy spoon that served the best pizza burgers in town.
Me? I've been dreaming of maple syrup. Growing up on the farm on Cherry Fork Road we lived in a big, red brick house, had an outbuilding and a beautifully crafted hand pegged barn that had a stable, a corn crib, a stripping room (for tobacco), a hay mound and a petrified snake that grinned at me anytime I worked up the nerve to look at it.
We had a really big yard and a line of trees that ran along the side of the house. All of the trees except one were Catawba trees and the tree that stood towering over the house was a Sugar Maple. For some reason, I wasn't allowed to climb this tree. The bottom branches were way over my head and there was no good way to shimmy up it because of how large the trunk was; although, it did have a really good place for sitting. It also could have been that the only time I can remember someone climbing it, he fell and broke his arm (sorry, John John). Scared us all half to death and I think I cried more than he did, he landed really hard.
I spent many days nestled in the crook of the big maple, mainly avoiding summer chores, chewing on a weed and wondering if it was my turn to go play at the neighbor's house or if they were coming down to mine. I do remember one year trying to hammer a stick into the tree seeing if it would produce any sap. I don't know how I knew that, I guess you learn things from reading, observing, or maybe, I paid attention in class the day we talked about New England, which is where I thought all maple syrup came from.
Recently, I've discovered that this isn't necessarily the case. Like many of you, I have joined the social networking sites and have reconnected with many old friends and acquaintances. And yes, there are some that I have difficulty in remembering. I was drawn to one such old friend last summer by the photos that he had posted about his garden and a mention of making maple syrup this upcoming winter...