When I looked out the kitchen window this morning and saw Shubert on his hands and knees under the pecan tree, I wondered if he was picking up scattered broken limbs. I went back to my dishes and when he opened the storm door and asked me to hand him a bowl, I realized he had his shirt-tail full of pecans!
It has been a peculiar Fall here. There was so much rain this summer and early Fall, the growing season seems to have been affected. Pecans usually do not fall until most of the leaves are on the ground. But I followed him outside and realized if we didn't gather the pecans soon the squirrels would beat us to them. I called Brenda, telling her how many pecans were already down, and asked her if our granddaughters would like to help gather them up.
The largest pecan tree in August of this year.
Shelby and Paige quickly picked up pecans that have fallen from the two trees in their great-grandmother, Lois Blalock's, yard. They shared stories with me that they remembered about the past when Lois, "Maw Maw", was still alive.
Paige remembered Maw Maw teaching her about pecans. She and Shelby were chattering along, competing with the squirrels! But they got the job done ~ before the squirrels could come back! Payton couldn't help today, but maybe next time she will be able to come, too.
"Maw Maw taught us how to pick up the pecans," one of the girls told me. "She told us to begin under the tree and go in a circle picking up the pecans as we went out toward the edges." Paige showed me how there were more directly under the tree by the trunk, so she said Maw Maw must have known what she was talking about.
Papa Shubert added a few more to the girls' box of pecans, but he had already worked enough for the morning, so quickly left the rest for them.
Shelby and Paige both said that this year is not like other years. The leaves are not covering the pecans. They remember having to hunt for the pecans. Shelby told me that she remembers when Maw Maw was alive and still able to pick up pecans, she loved to show them the ones hiding under the leaves. Paige said that when they pushed away the leaves, Maw Maw always made them put the leaves back because she loved how they looked on the ground. She loved how the ground looked like Fall.
Maw Maw would sit on the front porch after she got to the point where she was unable to pick up pecans and crack some of the ones the family picked up. All of the family helped. Shelby said she would pick up a bowl full and take them to her and she would crack those, watching the girls pick up more, calling out to them, telling them to make sure they looked carefully and not miss the ones hiding under the leaves! Paige and Shelby both agreed that it was sad when she was not strong enough to crack the pecans any longer.
They have both learned life-long lessons from their great-grandmother. It was heart-warming to listen to them talk about her, remembering her with such love and respect while working under the same trees that she had labored under for many years. I could imagine them all together in my mind's eye having such fun gathering up the pecans. I believe Mrs. Blalock is smiling tonight remembering those times, as well.
Taken by Judith Richards Shubert, Digital Format, October 28, 2013