I know everyone has moved on to pumpkins and fall sweaters, but our farmers market this past weekend still held tightly to the last lingering days of summer, with mountains of gorgeous heirloom tomatoes and crates of stone fruit belying the shortening days. Deep purple plums will forever remind me of this summer, as we plucked ripe fruit from our neighbor’s tree each day as we walked, Theo ruining more than one shirt with the juice running down his chin and dripping to soak the collar. As he finished the last bite, he would look up and smile, raising his index finger in his sign for just one more.
I will remember this summer by blackberries, picked from the vines and eaten by the handful as we walked to and from the beach each day and by tiny sand crabs scurrying in the sand as we lifted away the shelter of their rocky cover. By the excavators we searched for and the generous construction workers who invited us to climb into the cab and make a little boy very happy. And I am thankful for the kind train conductors waving out the engine window at Theo as we stood on the beach and counted each car that passed. Despite the collective pain felt across the world this summer, I experienced much kindness. And that gives me hope.
This summer was magic, filled with open-mouth belly laughs exposing an already-chipped front tooth, and the sweetest early-morning snuggles. We had our first (and hopefully, last) trip to the emergency room with a scary toothbrush incident. but Theo handled it with grace and curiosity. Theo’s first words, ‘dada’ and ‘yeah’ have grown to ‘mama’ and ‘car’ and ‘pickle’ and ‘more’ and more. ‘No’ is not in his vocabulary, except for the rare shake of a head. Like his Daddy, Theo always has an enthusiastic yes for every adventure.
I will remember weekly trips to sunny Vancouver to spend time with dear family who dote on Theo and vie for his attention, and a long weekend on San Juan Island where, during a morning beach walk, a mussel clamped to Theo’s pajama bottoms and held on. By Theo standing on the counter in the kitchen each morning, to helping Elie make almond milk or a smoothie. Seeing him walk down the dock, hand-in-hand with my dad, Papa Jim. And the sound of Theo’s squeals at bath time, as he and Mimi played and giggled and stayed up past bedtime, because they have so much fun together. So much love, this summer.
If, like me, you want to hold on to summer just a little longer, here is a recipe for you. I hope with each bite, your memory floods with the precious moments that filled your sweet summer.
- 1 large heirloom tomato, sliced
- 1 large peach, sliced
- 1 nectarine, sliced
- 1 plum, sliced
- 1 apricot, sliced
- fresh basil, torn or chopped
- 3 to 4 ounces goat or sheep feta, crumbled
- zest and juice of one lemon
- extra virgin olive oil, about 2 tablespoons
- sea salt
- red pepper flakes
- Arrange all of the tomato and fruit slices on a large shallow plate. Garnish with fresh basil, cheese and lemon zest. Squeeze the lemon over the salad and then drizzle olive oil, to taste. Sprinkle on good sea salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Serve as is, or with good bread.