Thursday, September 21, 2006

Scuppernongs Gone

A few weeks ago a friend and I stopped by the Fayette Art Center and Gallery in Fayetteville (it's on Fisher Ave. next to Fayetteville City Hall). We parked in the handicap area on the side as my friend has difficulty negotiating stairs (and yes, we were in her car and she has a handicap permit!). As I was helping her get out of the car I noted a gentleman sitting on the front porch of his house across the street watching us. I gave a friendly wave (being a friendly sort of person).

A few minutes later I looked up and he was walking across to talk with us. The house is one of the older houses that I love in this county. A huge porch to sit on in the evening or early mornings and it even has a few stained glass windows. I itched to get a peek at the inside, but in addition to being friendly, I try to be polite so I didn't ask for a tour!

We talked for a while about the house, the area, the history of Fayette County and other general things before I introduced myself and the gentleman introduced himself. Mr. Ed Travis is a true gracious southern gentleman.

After a bit we parted ways, but not before he invited us to come pick scuppernongs, apples and figs from his back yard. It has been many, many years since I had a scuppernong and many more since I picked them so I jumped at the chance. He told me to get Kathy (the owner of the Gallery) and get all we wanted as the scuppernongs were falling off the bushes.

After looking at all the new art in the gallery, Kathy and I walked across and picked our scuppernongs. They were truly falling off the vines! Ed had a wire running behind and through all the vines and the buckets he provided had hooks on them so we could hang them within reach while plucking the ripe fruit. After a short period I found it easier just to put the bucket under the vine and with a light touch let them fall into the bucket.

After filling our buckets we went back into the 2nd backyard and got a few apples from the trees. We also grabbed a few figs from the huge bushes or trees.

Ed and his wife came out to talk to us for a bit before leaving. They rent out some of the rooms in the house and, unless it's been rented in the last two weeks, there is a vacancy. I suppose that was my opening to weasle my way into the house for a look, but they were on their way out and I didn't want to hold them up.

People like the Travis' are not unusual in Fayette County. We are so lucky to have open hearted, giving and caring people in this county. I hope we'll somehow manage to keep the flavor of the county in years to come. How many places are left in this world where a huge assortment of fruit is grown between a jail/courthouse (the house backs up the county jail) and a main road?

The scuppernongs are long gone. I took them to a family get-together and had the pleasure of teaching my young nieces the "proper" way to eat them (squeeze the pulp into your mouth leaving the skin, push out the seeds with your toungue and discard... then enjoy; yes, I know some of you might eat the skin, but it's the pulp that's sweet and really, really good).

If you'd like to see more photos of the house, the vines and Mr. & Mrs. Travis, go to the Fayette Forum link on the sidebar, click and look for the Fayette Photo Gallery. Click on Scuppernongs Gone.

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