Hunting the Crimbleworm
Crimbleworms are crunchy like carrots from the crisper and best served chilled with shredded cabbage and cucumber slices over a bed of crisps crackling from the pot.
Being the youngest, Jasper and I were sent to dig the crimbleworms though it meant rising long before the double sun and trekking two hours into the Tweed Forest which ranged the whole back side of the property we farmed at the time.
“Be grateful its not kraken I’ll be sending you for,” Mama would say with a swat of the wooden spoon that was an extension of her own hand when my brothers and I were wee. Pap had whittled it from one of the large branches that overhung near half of the veggie garden. He battled the shade until the day he died.
The Tweed is gone now. Even the charred cremains of the old wood have long since been blown to destinations far off, but when I was a girl, it was grand. Not a bit like The Otherworld that shadowed it and whose door is no longer marked, or gods be hoped, accessible.
Crimbleworms spent their days deep in the loam around the Spiraling Oaks but for a few hours just before the dawn when they would poke their wee blank blind faces above the dirt. For what? I daresay no one knows. But Jasper and I would perch like crows on the bench like roots of the oak with eagle eyes on the ground, a trowel in one hand and basket in the other and wait. It was important not to strike too soon or the ones not yet close to the surface would be frightened back to the root system.
Jasper would count off in a whisper that echoed in the stillness before full light, and when he said,
And we would leap like the tigres Old Mam told tales about in the firelight before bed.