Updated: Sep 9, 2019
I'm pickling beets today. The earthy smell wafting through my kitchen has me reminiscing about my grandmother. I’m not sure if I was even out of diapers by the time I was spending every weekend I possibly could at my Nanny and Papa’s homestead. I would incessantly beg my parents to drop me off and reluctantly leave (except for once but that’s another story that my parents like to tell).
I find myself often thinking about those days as some of my favourite childhood moments.
I rarely wore shoes (see, always barefoot). I would 'help' my Nanny in the garden, although this usually meant my pudgy bum was planted in the soil eating fresh veggies and dirt. Above all, my Papa would spoil me (much to my mother’s chagrin) - I got all the chocolate donuts I wanted, and he would kindly take the couch at night so I could sleep with my Nanny. I would bake with my Nanny, and learn how to properly knead dough. I would wait for the clouds to clear so I could see Prince Edward Island through the binoculars. The most technology I consumed during these weekends was listening to a cassette of The Rankin Family over and over and over again. I was always outside, or on rainy days beating anyone I could at a game of cards.
From my childhood perspective, life was just a breeze - blowing off the Northumberland Strait.
I didn’t get many years after that with my Papa, but I did enjoy almost three more decades with my Nanny. She remains one of the hardest working women I know. She worked outside the home, managed a homestead and raised ten children. She was compassionate and kind, but fierce and wild and was a true matriarch of our family. By definition, she was not a feminist, and I certainly pissed her off a time or two with my 'un-ladylike' behaviour and my constant need to stir the pot. As I got older, I learned that the things she wanted for me in life, were not the things I wanted for myself so we just agreed to disagree and she quietly respected that I would forge my own path, as I always had.
Although we differed on some fronts, her roots have been planted deeply. They have shaped who I am and how I live. I am courageous and bold. I have neither a verbal filter nor a poker face. I am curious about people. I love the sound of the wind and the smell of salt-water. I re-purpose everything. I can make a mean batch of mustard pickles (#lifegoals people). And of course, I long to be oceanfront, barefoot, and eating string beans out of my garden.