Monday, September 05, 2005

Grape Stomp

Oh the things you learn along the way....
I learned yesterday that scuppernongs ARE muscadines and scuppernongs were named after the Scuppernong River in North Carolina. And for even more trivia, if you find wild muscadines in the woods, they are referred to as bullace. Thank you Joe Clark, who is a repository for all kinds of UBIs (useless bits of information) and words of wisdom...

Sunday evening, members of St. John's, families and friends gathered for a good ol' fashioned grape stomp. Last year there was a hiatus, compliments of Hurricane Frances, but this year's scheduled stomp was accompanied by beautiful weather sans the love bug convention that was held there in 2003.
Children young and old picked the muscadines in the buckets, eating a few on the way (no bellyaches reported). The weather proved to be warm, but the humidity was kind and was held at bay.

Rachael collected her fair share of the abundant grapes that eventually became a part of a larger communal collection of the thousands of the grapes that will become the Communion wine for the congregation of St. John's Episcopal Church.

Each row of the vineyard looked to have a different type of grape, which was apparent in the stomp "pool "that was graced by anyone willing to get grape juice in between their toes. Some were more willing than others. "Little Lucy", not to be confused with a former TV Lucy(who was known to stomp a grape or two), was less than enthusiastic with her participation.
Grandmother Sue, however, made sure she had a good hold on her. It wasn't long before she made her way out to get a good foot washing - no toe jam for this little one!
The stomping took some time and there were those that made sure there were no grapes that were not tended.
Following the stomping of the grapes, the juice was pressed to remove the skins, seeds, and toes and stems that remained.

After the "work" was done, the group congregated around the food and drink brought by all to share. Boiled peanuts, potato salad, beans and other picnic and southern delicacies allowed us to enjoy each other's company with what we seem to do best - eat!
I could not help but notice a similarity to something mentioned on CNN earlier in the afternoon. A reporter walked through the Superdome, amidst the remnants of what was once "home" to those that evacuated there for Katrina. I use the word "home" loosely, since it was NO home, but a temporary shelter for the many, who for one reason or another, did not leave the New Orleans area. The reporter noted the collected circle of chairs that remained, of people that had formed communities, perhaps out of the need for safety, but I can't help but think they were forming communities for more than safety, but the need for each other, for fellowship and community, albeit short lived, was nonetheless their needed community.

When I got to the grape stomp, there were a scattering of chairs where friends were placing themselves with their family and friends, strategically or not, by meal time, a larger circle had formed, with the food in the middle. Inside the circle were the occasional small circle, for those with young children to provide an area where the children could eat and not wander beyond the larger circle.

No matter where we are, we need some form of community. There are those of us that may want to be in the thick of it all, while other sit on the outside, coming occasionally for nourishment and nurturing.

Joe, thank you for the opportunity to allow us to participate in your ministry for providing the communion wine. Thank you for the gift of hospitality as you and your family offer memories for all of us to bring along with us as we journey as a church family.


Emily said...

What fun! And what a great way to be involved in making communion wine--then it really is the gift of the people (ideas humming in brain).

Running2Ks said...

Oh wow! That is such a great idea! We have taken the kids berry picking, but this experience sounds just plain amazing :)