Concord grapes come to mind

From our April 2012 issue

By Magdalen Stang – Manning, Alta.

We welcomed our 39th and 40th great-grandchild into our family in January, 2012. I was invited to number 39’s baby shower. I didn’t realize this happened much anymore.

As a great-grandmother, I along with 30 to 35 other ladies including the two brand new grandmothers and two other great-grandmothers attended the shower.

Throughout the afternoon, I was informed that our brand new great-grandboy has 11 grands to great-great-grands to his heritage still living.

That bit of astounding news took me back in time to my grandparents, who I’d never met, except for dad’s father who surprised us with a brief visit when I was four or five years old.

I don’t recall anything about him other than his name becoming synonymous with Concord grapes.

Throughout my life, anytime grandpa’s name was mentioned, a basketful of pure Concord grapes would come to my mind, as that was the gift he brought to our family. We siblings didn’t know such a delicious fruit existed.

Each day we took turns making that blessed journey into the underground cellar – which was the fridge in the Dirty ‘30s – to bring up a four-year-old hand-size amount of grapes for each child.

‘Left me an indelible taste’

That little episode has left me an indelible taste for the true blue Concord grape and delicious memory of Grandpa Hartman.

Making a trip from Edmonton to Notikewin in the late ‘30s was no small feat. All there was for highway was a dirty, dusty wagon trail for horses and the rare vehicle, and a train that stopped 60 miles south at Grimshaw, Alta.

I don’t recall how grandpa got here with a basket of grapes still intact. What I do know is I’m on a hunt every fall for the true blue Concord.

Many strains of grapes are now called Concord, but all the tasting I’ve attempted are poor copycats of the pure Concord.