Something special to look forward to

Published 12:34 pm Thursday, June 20, 2024

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Paul’s Aunt Eit (Dutch) is well into her 90s, ramrod straight and still quite tall (Dutch). And each week she cycles (that Dutch thing again) her 3-wheeler from her retirement flat to the local shops to purchase her groceries for the week—among them, superb cheese (Duuuuuuutch).

Not to mention, come July, cherries.

And this tidbit of trivia became a life lesson for me. A moment to pull back and reflect when Eit once explained the glory of cherry season and how she—and a few million other Dutch residents—looked forward to cherry picking season the way a child longs for Christmas. The luxury of a bowl of sweet cherries exemplifies longer days, a kind and warmer sun, picnic blankets spread over lush green grass beneath the dappled shade of trees…

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“I won’t buy or eat them out of season.” she said firmly. “Because then it wouldn’t be as special.”

I really get that. Paul and I get ours from Costco. No cycling through the countryside, no waiting anxiously while small local shops have wooden crates of them displayed. No baskets of them as sweet rewards while rowing down canals with friends. Nope, just driving to downtown Spartanburg, fighting for a parking spot in a jammed lot, and, because it’s Costco and it was a 30 minute drive to get there, leaving with not only 2 plastic tubs of cherries but 36 rolls of Scott’s Toilet Tissue encased in plastic wrapping so large is has to be strapped to the top of the car like Fred Flintstones’ rack of Mammoth ribs.

Somehow it’s not the same thing, although one does need the latter if one is determined to work one’s way through that many cherries.

I suppose, in the end, it’s all about simple pleasures instead of instant gratification. It’s the same happy anticipation gardeners feel upon perusing seed catalogs in the dead of winter by the fire, or herding the kids into the car to pick out that year’s Christmas tree, or trying to recreate Bubbe’s matzo ball soup…It’s about having something to look forward to—something special, something to be cherished. And the anticipation of it is the very best part.

Luckily, for me, it’s 5pm. Anticipation is over. 

Hand me that bottle opener.