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Una Mamma Italiana
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Summer Nights Breath Life Into A Garden Of Remembrances
(Grandma's Garden Yield's Magical Moments)
Continued from page 2
by Cookie Curci
Lavender, marjoram, rosemary, sage, savory and thyme were planted in sun drenched areas of the garden. Nurtured in raised beds along the walkway were herbs that favored full sun and rich, moist soil, such as basil, coriander, parsley, tarragon and fennel.
For each years growing seasons and cycles, Nonna's garden emerged stronger, healthier and bigger. I believe Nonna's ability to grow things was part instinct, part knowledge and, I suspect, a bit of magic tossed in for good measure. In her garden, Nonna could slow down the quickly passing days and feel closer to life. It was her Old World belief that a garden brought prosperity and harmony to a home.
It was many years later that I paid my Nonna and her garden a final visit. As I walked up the pathway, I could smell the inviting aroma of her Italian tomato sauce bubbling on the stove like an eternal volcano. She was well into her 80s by then, but still an avid gardener and an excellent cook. Like a lot of things I remember from that day, the fragrance of her budding spring flowers mingled with the aroma of her simmering tomato sauce remains unchanged and forever in my memory.
It was a bright, sun washed day and I wasn't at all surprised to find Nonna puttering in her backyard herb garden. She was all alone now and her garden had grown steadily smaller through the years. But, as always, she continued to revere the growing of things and the procession of the seasons. Remarkably, she could still pinpoint the arrival of the summer solstice with out glancing at a calendar.
The day of my visit, Nonna didn't readily notice my arrival. She was too busy weeding her seedlings and playing tug-of-war with the roots of a stubborn dandelion weed. Time had engraved Grandma's hands and face with a pattern of deeply set wrinkles. Her once sparkling eyes were dimmer now and framed by a set of well-defined crow's feet. But still they reflected that same familiar twinkle of welcome. From beneath her sunbonnet, a stray wisp of white hair fluttered in the warm afternoon breeze.
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