This article first appeared in ADDitude Magazine online.

I lost my what???

I haven’t killed any grapevines this year… yet.

Actually, the two vines that survived Japanese beetles, grape fungus and complete neglect look pretty good. Probably because I did my duty and pruned them in February (the actual recommended month for pruning – a triumph for any ADD adult!). And I threw a bunch of well-composted fertilizer (aka chicken poop) around the roots. Voila! They were happy little vines.

In June, I noticed several small clumps of hard green nubbins that supposedly would ripen into luscious grapes. Not in my garden; for five years, they have shriveled and fallen to the ground. Or the birds and squirrels have eaten them. I’ve never tasted a single grape from my “vineyard.”

Several weeks later, the darned things got plump. Then they started changing color. My gosh; grapes were actually being born! Every day I checked on them; I shooed away the hungry beetles and hung a little bird netting over them.

Did you know that grapes don’t ripen all at the same time? Within the same bunch there were several deep purple grapes ready to eat, a few more grapes that barely blushed pink and a majority of stubborn green grapes that refused to ripen. When was I supposed to harvest? When all of them turned purple? When a few were still green? I was baffled.

I had my answer the day some of those early bloomers burst their skins and went flat and droopy.  Oops.  No matter what color, those grapes were coming with me! Carefully, I snipped off the three little bundles (at most 30 or 40 grapes).

I dared not risk bruising my precious cargo in a wicker basket. Instead, I carefully turned up the hem of my T-shirt to form a pocket (think apron pocket) and nestled the grapes against my waist. I patted them gently to make sure they stayed safe, then closed the garden gate and headed for the air-conditioned house.

I went straight to the kitchen, stood over the counter and flipped open my shirt. No grapes! Not a one! They’d fallen out! Panicked, I retraced my steps; surely red and green grapes would be easy to find. No grapes were seen. I went back to the house, more slowly, eyes scanning the green grass. Could birds or squirrels have grabbed them so quickly? Curses on them!

Tears were beginning to gather behind my eyelids. Five years of battling birds and bugs and I had LOST the first harvest? I tried to think like Sesame Street and “take a walk backwards in my mind.”  Where had I gone? What had I done? I’d snipped the grapes, put them in my shirt, went to the house…ah! I’d closed the other garden gate!

And there they were, a little smashed (apparently I’d stepped on a few of them), but mostly intact. I made silent apologies to the birds and squirrels after my undeserved condemnation.

Then it hit me: I had actually lost my grapes! On the way from the garden to my house, I had LOST my grapes! I had to ask: is that like losing your marbles?

Do you lose your marbles and then lose your grapes? Or does losing your grapes MAKE you lose your marbles? Is there ADD medication you can take for losing your grapes?

I was still giggling as I composed the survivor grapes into a sad little still life and took pictures for posterity. I might never harvest grapes again. But if I do, with god as my witness: “I’ll never lose my grapes again!”

Not sure I can say the same about losing my marbles