Some people collect cows. Figurines, that is. Others collect bells, horses, Noah’s Arks. My dermatologist collects pigs…fat stuffed ones, ceramic statues, and painted renditions on little signs hanging around her office.I love strawberries, but don’t have much of a collection yet. I just have a book on strawberry quilt patterns, a fridge magnet, the ubiquitous strawberry sewing emery that’s in almost every stitcher’s sewing box, and a bottle of strawberry-scented Body Shop bath gel that’s half-empty, a pair of Banana Peel slippers with cartoon berries. Nothing to speak of, by any standards.
I fell in love with berries when I was a child and went on infrequent trips to Baguio. Back then, you only had them in summer, and only if you were going up the mountain or got them as pasalubong from someone who had.
So the fruit for me took on a rare, special, almost magical quality, unlike bananas or papayas or pineapple that you could have everyday.
Later, when I had kids and we used to take yearly trips to Baguio, I always came back with kilos and kilos of the ripe red fruit. I’ve made berry ice cream several times. But my favorite way to eat them is dipped in sugar and cream.
When you hold a strawberry in your hand, don’t squeeze too hard because they are easily bruised. Hold them carefully. Feel the irregular, bulbous shape with the rough seeds scattered across the surface. Flick the leaves and stem with a thumb as you bring it up to your nose and inhale that sweet, unique scent that reminds you of summer, love, and laughter.
Since life is short, I will surround myself with my favorite things. I will start a collection of strawberries – strings of carved and painted wooden berries for hanging in the kitchen; china and glassware printed with berry images; books with pictures of ripe ruby berries.
Soon, I will start on my strawberry quilt and look for just the right cross-stitch pattern for the wall. If there are berries in the supermarket or the fruit stand, I will buy them.
Strawberries make me happy. Don’t forget to find your own happiness, and make room for it in your life.