As the 5th anniversary of Ralph’s death approaches, I am filled with gratitude for the many people that have made it possible for me to continue sharing Ralph’s love of the land. Hillside Blueberries has become a favorite summer tradition now and continues to be a way to honor Ralph’s memory for both his family and many friends. It does indeed “take a village” and I would certainly not have been able to keep going without the magnitude of help and support from so very many that I would like to acknowledge here.
To my former students, Amanda and Meagan, and especially Katie, who literally held me up that first summer and many times/years beyond: my sincerest thanks to you, filled with ever so much love. To Jason for finding me, and to Michael and Matthew for hand weeding all 14 rows that next fall – yes it was a nightmare – I shall forever be indebted to you, especially when remembering your beautiful serenades! To Joshua, my thanks for the first fabulous and tedious pruning; you were a godsend. And to my neighbors Michael and Erika, and Dave and Michele, for coming to my rescue when I had pneumonia with mowing and tractor work, my forever thanks and appreciation for your kindnesses and continued support! Dearest Jon, I miss you so, but was blessed indeed by your many gifts and talents and strong back. Dream large!
To my angel, Victor, there will never be enough words to express the depths of my appreciation for all you do to keep me going. From sawdust spreading, to endless mole and gopher trapping, to building new irrigation lines, and constant string trimming, to tree pruning and brush hauling, fence repairs and tractor work, you continue to show up with a smile and to delight in the work of the land as did Ralph. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You make me strive to be a better person each and every day of my life!
To my treasured daughters, Mariah and Ashley, and son-in laws, Nic and John, where do I begin? I would not still be standing were it not for the continued love and support of my family. You have weathered these past 5 years of mama’s sometimes “crazy” with such grace and you always stand ready to lend help and support when I feel overwhelmed or alone. For showing up in an instant for everything from burst pipes in a flooding barn, to technology that continues to baffle me, and an endless list of things in between, my heartfelt thanks. You and my beloved grand-daughters are the soul food that allows me to weather whatever comes and you are the things in this life that I am the most proud of.
And lastly, to all the many glorious people that have supported me each and every summer, my sincerest thanks for your presence. Seeing your bright and shining faces, hearing your stories, watching your children grow, and feeling you delight in what Ralph created fills me to overflowing year after year. You are who I do this for. You meant so very much to Ralph and now to me!
The renewing cycles of nature, from destruction to rebirth, continue to inspire awe as do the best aspects of humanity when we truly love, reach out, show up and help one another. Pondering both an approaching 5th anniversary and another fun filled few weeks of blueberry picking, I wish you all a beautiful summer ahead. May it be filled with all of the joy, love, and many treasured memories you have given me - now and for many years to come…