Recently, I thought I spotted a maypop in the field across the street from my parents’ house. We were at home that weekend, in the small, rural middle Georgia town I grew up in, for my little one’s baptism. It was a wonderfully busy, family-filled couple of days. All weekend, I meant to stop for a closer look at the maypop, but time just got away from me.
The Maypop, or Passionflower (Passiflora Incarnata), is a climbing vine. It’s a wildflower with a frilly purple bloom and oval-shaped green fruit. It is edible, and it does seem to have medicinal purposes such as treating insomnia and anxiety. It’s beautiful, almost exotic looking, and it is sentimental to me. My grandma lived on a dirt road in a pecan orchard. The orchard was bordered by woods, and at the place where the orchard met the woods grew maypops. When I was a little girl, we would walk down the road, through the orchard, and to the woods to pick the green fruit of the maypops. Then, Grandma would take out a small paring knife with a red plastic handle and carve the maypops into baskets and bowls for my Barbie dolls. I have such happy memories of walking with her, of watching her carve the baskets and bowls, and then of playing with them with my dolls in the back bedroom. She turned the simple fruits of a weed into something beautiful.
I called my father once we’d returned to Charleston, and I mentioned the maypops to him. He said he had not noticed any in that field but that he would look for me. Daddy looked, but he could not find a maypop. I was nostalgic for those little green bowls and baskets. I hadn’t seen a maypop in twenty years or so. And, I was sad at the loss of missing out on them yet again.
A couple of months later, we returned for a visit. Late in the afternoon, I got on the four wheeler, and my preschooler followed me on his John Deere Gator (our preferred modes of transportation in the country). Together, we crossed the gravel road, and scoured the field for any sign of a maypop.
I didn’t just find one that day. I found several. And, just like my grandma had done for me, I pulled a small paring knife with a red plastic handle out of the drawer, and I made a few
Barbie baskets dirt buckets for my little boy. I’m not sure who was more excited – him or me. Either way, I know Grandma was smiling down on us.
This blog is about seeking out the maypops in life. It’s about preserving and passing on traditions. It’s about making new memories. And, it’s about seeing the beauty in simple, casual, everyday life.