Friday, March 8, 2013

Pink Pepper

Well, hooray and huzzah!  I'm over that nasty flu!  I finally got out of the house and walked my dog around our usual half-mile route. Cora sniffed and sniffed and marked like crazy, picking up and answering her long-neglected pee mail while I just basked in the sunshine at the other end of the leash, content to give her all the time she needed. After five days in the house, I was a little wobbly on my pins, but loving the fresh air and lack of a stuffy head.

When we return to our little dead-end street, I always detach the leash and let Cora greet the neighbors' dogs or roam around on her own. She loves this little taste of freedom and I enjoy it, too. As we were meandering our way home, I happened to look down and note little pink spheres on the pavement. Pink pepper!  Looking up, I saw that my neighbor's tree is fruiting, so I plucked a little branch to take home. 

Pink pepper isn't really related botanically to classic black pepper but the scent would fool you. The broken branchlet perfumed the air with a distinct pepper smell as we strolled along. When I was a young married woman and First Husband was in grad school at Stanford, we collected California Bay Laurel leaves and pink pepper to dry and stuff into little bottles that I decorated with rickrack and shiny ribbon as Christmas gifts. When one is dirt poor, it's good to have freebies for Christmas giving.

I will dry these berries, too, and use them in one of my pepper grinders, just as a reminder of those long-ago student days when I fit into skinny dresses and he had hair.  Little things trigger memories these days, and it's good to look back and remember happy times.

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