Back in September, I was walking Dallas through the neighborhood and I saw this.
After a few walks throughout the week, I summoned enough courage to walk up to this stranger's door and ask about the grapes. I was very nervous, and I didn't even know what I was going to say, but I had to know if something could be done to preserve this precious fruit.
This is the beautiful woman who answered the door.
I introduced myself, and Margaret recognized my last name immediately and explained how we are related! Her late first husband was my mother in law's cousin. Margaret's husband was killed early in their marriage, but she remained very close with his family. She knows and adores my inlaws almost as much as I do. Margaret has since married Mel Roberts who is an amazing man who I have really come to love.
Margaret was thrilled that we had found one another, and we talked and laughed and shared with one another for over an hour that first day on her porch. There was an instant connection between the two of us.
I asked Margaret if she would like me to bottle the grapes for her. She told me to take all I wanted because she was unable to harvest as she once did, and her diabetes prevented her from being able to consume much of it anymore. Not only could I have whatever grapes I wanted, but she asked me to please take the apples as well if I could put them to use.
It was like she'd given me the world. This land of hers has at least 5 apple trees, over 100 feet of various grape vines, pears, apricots, cherries. So much goodness.
I gathered up all my big bowls and headed to the "Secret Garden" to collect apples and grapes.
This is the result after one of at least 15 visits to the garden.
The door to the "Secret Garden"
I started making grape juice and applesauce and taking it to Mel and Margaret. This made them so happy! They had given me something invaluable. Not the fruit, not the juice, jelly or applesauce I would make with it, but the love I felt emanating from that them and their land. I spent many hours in that garden. Touching the leaves. Clipping down the grapes. Picking the apples. Taking in the beauty in God's creations. Smelling the wonderful scent of the ripe fruit all around. It was like heaven to me.
These were the most delicious apples I have ever tasted. Fresh from the tree, free of chemicals, and unlike my apples...NO WORMS! Aren't they gorgeous?!
I spent countless hours in my kitchen canning and thinking about Margaret and what a wonderful woman she is as I made this delicious grape juice, apple juice, and applesauce. You should taste it, it is absolutely divine! No sugar added to any of it.
Leaving their home that day was hard. I was fairly certain I would not see Margaret again and I wasn't sure how to go. I simply kissed her on the forehead and told her I love her. And then I left.
We never know when our loved ones will leave this Earth, we only know that they will. While we have our time here, it is important that we spend it wisely. Love. Serve. Give. Margaret did this for me in ways that have changed me forever. I only knew her for four short months, but the gifts she has given me are eternal. I love her. I am better because I knew her.
I will see her again, this I know.