The Summer I Remember... (A Peach Farmer's Daughter)
Summer in Fredericksburg, Texas (in the general sense) as a kid, began in June with the smell of peaches and ended in August with the excitement of hooves rumbling on the racetrack and the bright carnival lights filling the sky that same same evening!
As a peach farmer's daughter, once school was out, my hands were in a grater, dividing the Stonewall, Texas sandy loam grown peaches into different quality and sizes. The first varieties were never my favorite, but the early morning rides to the area farmer's markets (Austin, San Marcos, New Braunfels) were! The simple joy a customer showed when they got their hands on those hill country peaches sticks with a person. My mind's eye can imagine face after face smiling at my 6...9...14...19-year-old self, eager to get to their home to enjoy their fresh fruit (bought from the cutest blonde headed, pink cheeked little girl). My favorite varieties, in case one was wondering, were ready at the beginning of July; Majestic, Loring and Red Globe.
A few weeks into the summer, in fact, the 3rd weekend of June, came The Stonewall Peach Jamboree. What excitement! The Saturday June morning would begin early, whether it was getting on the parade float I would ride on that year, or setting up chairs at the best location to view the parade from. 'How did the Peach Queen contestants decorate the car they would be riding on?' My Dad would enter his biggest and best-looking peaches into the peach judging. My sister and I would get to hold them high for all to see! As a lifelong observer, I would gladly watch my older sister and others eat a peach as fast as they could muster, get that peach pit between their teeth, then spit it as far as possible! Ha! The Rattlesnake pit was once a big attraction until someone said "No More!" What an amazing small-town memory! Once the rodeo started, my eyes were fixated on the teenage girls wanting to be the next Peach Queen; a title I would also try out for (and not get) as a 16-year-old. Then, those same eyes in awe would be brazed with the kicked up dust from the bucking bronco! The National Anthem, the crowd cheering, the announcement of the peach queen...what pure fun.
Perhaps I have never really minded the Texas summer heat, because my notable memories along with the sweat were worth the red cheeks and peach juice running down my chin.
Flocking to the Hill Country for the fresh peaches bought from local hard-working families at their roadside peach stand has been a past time of thousands and precedes my 35 years. It also precedes the wine trail scene. I am a big fan of this newer scene as I love the wineries and even more, the wine! I admire the dedication these families growing grapes and everyone in this growing industry have, but to see the full parking lots of peach stands on the side of the highways. all these years later, heightens my senses so much that I not only smile ear to ear, but I can smell and taste the product they are peddling!
The summer I remember... happy. important. simple.
To be continued...