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Sweet Strawberry

imagesOur mission is to pick strawberries.  Daughter wants two or three gallons.  A couple of gallons for me.  We have lots of help.  Her children, my Grands, are experienced berry pickers.  We travel across the county line into White County to our favorite strawberry patch, and we’ll know we’re there when we see the little red barn – actually a shed.

A big shaggy dog lies in front of the closed shed door, and a hand-written, cardboard sign announces, “CLOSED.”  White buckets are stacked on a table.  “Let me check this out.  Maybe we can pick anyway,” Daughter says as she steps out of the van.  Penciled directions on notebook paper reads ‘Help yourself to picking.  A bucket holds a gallon.  $9 a gallon.  Leave your money in the cookie jar.’

My two-year-old Grand sits, like an overseer, in her stroller amid the rows of strawberry plants while Daughter picks berries close to her.  Every plant boasts berries—a few are red.  Many more are small and green.  “Come this way, Gran,” 8 year-old David tells me.  “There’s a lot here!”  He swings a bucket, holding a few red berries, as he tromps past.  Fifteen minutes later, his bucket is almost full.

Lou, age six, frolics in the wide space between two rows of plants.  “There’s strawberries everywhere!” she says.  She checks out each of them, some she picks and puts in her bucket.  “Look at these beautiful flowers.  Are they weeds?”  She breaks a stem with miniature daisy-like blossoms.  Four-year old Ruth stays close to her mother and chooses the reddest berries to fill her bucket.  When her little sister squirms, Ruth rushes to her.  “Here, Elaine, do you want a strawberry?”  Ruth blows on the berry before giving it to her sister.  Elaine’s first bite sends red juice down both her arms.  Using a stick, Ruth draws lines and circles in the damp dirt beside her little sister’s stroller.

With one bucket full of berries and another half full, I call for David, who’s starring at a large strawberry he’s clutching, to help me.  “Not right now.  I’m waiting for him to take a bite,” he says.  A bite?  Who?  “There’s a tiny little ant on this berry.  Do ants eat strawberries?”  Ruth left her post beside her little sister.  “Look, Gran,” she calls to me.  “I found three.”  Assuming that she’s holding three strawberries, I hold my bucket toward her.  “Three ladybugs!” she announces and cradles them in her cupped hands.  A bucket of berries is spilled and picked up.  A few soft, mushy ones are thrown.  Shoes stick in the mud.

Daughter gathers all the troops and suggests if everyone finds just ten more bright red berries, we’ll be finished.  So in less than an hour, after putting money in the cookie jar, we leave the strawberry patch with five gallons of berries.

Mission accomplished.  And so much more.  Experiences and lessons.  About trust and honesty and sharing and working together.  Some weeds have pretty flowers.  Ants eat almost everything.  Ladybugs hide under leaves.  All that makes the strawberries on my Cheerios taste even sweeter.



2 Responses

  1. Oh the grandkids,they make everything more fun!


  2. What great memories you’re making!


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