They pop out like pretty pink popcorn on the trees. As you get closer their delicate pink beauty takes your breath away.
As a child I rarely saw a peach blossom as the only place we had access to peach trees was at my grandparents’ smallholding. They came in September; I know this because I remember my mom always asking her parents over the phone if the blossoms were in bloom. By early December we made the drive from the far northern Transvaal to Randfontein. It wasn’t ever just a visit.
During December holidays most of my mom’s siblings with my cousins arrived for a week of work. We picked peaches. We cut peaches. We made peach roll-ups. My mom and gran boiled them in sugary sweet syrup that drifted through the house… and then we would pack up our car loaded with bottled peaches and go back home.
My grandparents left the smallholding almost 20 years ago. My grandfather passed before my gran soon after they moved into the old aged home. I regularly visited my gran until cancer took her in 2005.
My mom and I went back once about 7 or 8 years ago. The house my grandfather built still stood familiar but the trees were all almost gone. The new owners let us walk through the house but it wasn’t the same happy home anymore. It wasn’t filled with our family photos, my gran’s cooking or cousins playing. It didn’t have the big dining room table where almost 24 of us could sit.
When I see the beautiful pink peach blossoms popping out like popcorn in the trees I celebrate their beauty and what is to come – and I mourn all the family I have lost; I remember the hands that tended to them so I could help pick peaches in December; and I remember the excitement of my mom when she hears that they’ve finally arrived.
I still eat peaches. My peaches are now from a Koo can. They still taste like home. They still taste like family.