The Berry Hunters

When Shaun was on vacation a couple weeks ago we stopped along the roadside to purchase some freshly picked corn that an overall clad, elderly  man was selling from the back of his truck.  It just happened that he had a couple flats of succulent looking blackberries as well.  We couldn’t help but buy some of those too.  (In fact, after getting a good look at the blackberries, we didn’t even care about the corn anymore! )

Now, we normally wouldn’t buy blackberries.  Bramble bushes grow wild everywhere around here.  In fact, when we first moved here, I was baffled by all the signs guaranteeing  to permanently kill of blackberry bushes.  It wasn’t until I realized they were taking over our back yard that I understood what an invasive weed they really were.  Weed or not, you can usually see people stopped all over the place to harvest some tasty berries.  Only…the wild berries this year…not so good.  We didn’t have a very good summer and it really wasn’t worth the time to pick them.  (Nor was it worth the flesh the thorns tore from our hands).

brambles

The blackberries that we bought were so plump and juicy that we needed more.  The farmer actually grew them on purpose and you could tell it was a labor of love for him.  So Shaun and I piled in the jeep last weekend and headed back out to where we had seen that old blue pick-up truck.  Our mouths started watering as we were so excited to find that he was there.  The only problem was that his truck was full of corn…and nothing else.  He took our phone number and told us that he’d call when he had some berries ready to be picked. 

The middle of last week, Shaun got that phone call and made arrangements to pick up a flat of blackberries and of raspberries today at one.  I suggested to my sweet husband that he call to confirm that the berries were ready and could be picked as it had been raining for the last few days.  Shaun phew-phewed me saying that they were honorable people that would call if there was a change in plans. 

We all headed out toward the farmer’s house already dreaming about our berry feast.  Only someone couldn’t quite remember where the house was.  We stopped in a small convenience store and asked if they knew where the farmer and his wife lived.  We were told that they owned the small burger joint across the road and to go check there.  So were did, and armed with a very rough map headed back to where we thought it was.  It turned out that a menacing large heavily tattooed man (Shaun said he was an ex-con) lived there.  He was quite unhappy to have visitors and sent us on our way with better directions.  (It seems that everyone knows the farmer!)

We were finally on the right road and could almost taste those berries.  Shaun approached the front door a little hesitantly (he was still a little nervous after his last encounter) as was relieved when the sweet little old lady opened the door.  She assured him that he had the right place…but it had been too wet to pick the berries. She apologized and muttered something about thinking about calling but she always got the machine.

Shaun crawled back in the Jeep, looking quite dejected.  He out of all of us, was looking forward to those berries the most.  Our of reverence for his great loss, I bit my tongue for as long as I possibly could.  Yet somehow…the words escaped me.  I had told him to call because of the rain, but no, he just wouldn’t listen to me. 

As much as I love fresh berries, I sure do love being right…

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Bit O Life

berries

Blackberries ripening in the sun (from last year)

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