There was the old shed, her little white house, all of her beautiful flowers, the place where the garden once grew, and no orchard.
Don't get me wrong. It didn't just disappear, it hasn't been there for about half of my life now but in that moment, I missed it and I wanted it there. I wanted to run over and eat too many blackberries straight from the vine. Sneak a bunch of grapes into my palm for later. But most of all, I wanted to see my GranPa standing there with his straw hat explaining to me about his apple tree grafting. Oh, how I would lap up every word if he had been there.
I had to take some classes in June and each one started with the get-to-know-you type questions. One day, we all shared our name and our favorite childhood food. Mine was anything from my GranMa and GranPa's garden. I promise that my GranMa grew and cooked up the best green beans my tongue ever tasted. But another of my most favorite things was anything I could just pick and eat straight from his orchard.
My Dad has a photo in his living room, of GranPa in his straw hat and checkered shirt standing in the orchard and that is how I remember him. How I remember that place. How I see it in my mind's eye.
So, the answer to my question, "Where did the orchard go?"
It is still there for those of us who look hard enough.
I went there just this morning. I bit into a peach, not one of those store bought ones. A real one. A juicy one, grown in a local orchard. The sweet flavor of Summer carried my mind back to a time and place that lives on inside of me. A place where a little curly-headed girl, along with her sister and cousins listen to stories from a man they love, while nibbling on nature's desserts grown in the orchard.