Monday, September 26, 2011
sometimes when i buy potatoes, i cry. when they are fresh, with dirt still crumbling from them, i put them to my face and smell them. i only buy potatoes that are grown on prince edward island. the water stains like blood from the red clay when i wash them. and i feel the connection to my grandmother again. my grandparents were farmers on prince edward island. potato farmers. potato farming went several generations deep in our family. but it ended with my grandfather. my father left the farm when he was just a teenager. all his siblings eventually did. and my grandparents auctioned their home and the family farm and left the island to be close to their children. for many years they would return every summer and rent a house for the season. and i remember spending long visits with them there as a child. but i didn't know the farm. they sold it the year before i was born. i know the stories of the farm like they were my own. i know the names of the horses. i know the names of the neighbors. i have a clear picture of the house, the kitchen, the barns. and now i spend my days sewing scraps of fabric into quilts, my feeble attempt to capture just a taste of that simple life that was so difficult and so sweet. and i sometimes cry when i feel the gritty red clay on store bought potatoes.