Monday, June 17, 2019

Blue lips and strawberry fields

Branches that sang in the summer slept in the fall and through the winter. Fields of limbs lay barren by the settling of time upon ground that would soundly sleep. Well, that is until a family came calling in the summer.

We set off to the fields with buckets in hand. Rows and rows laden with beautiful blueberries just waiting to go home with us. My children loved to pick berries. I know because I saw blue lips time after time. One cannot, no, it is impossible, to pick berries of any kind without painting your lips. A sure sign that the berries just might be a wonderful blessing after a long winter without them.

I don't remember picking berries as a kid on Neff Road. We never had any. I know Mom canned and froze produce, but I don't think we ever had berries. I know my sister will correct me if I am wrong. So coming to Oregon where the produce was much more extensive and fresher, I filled the refrigerator and freezer with the season's pick. There were so many fruits I had never seen before. My kids and I decided to try a new fruit once in awhile. Some we liked. Some we knew we would not like just from the smell of it.

The girls were small when we took them to pick berries. Again, blue lips and finger tips. Sometimes we would pick strawberries and hurry home to eat them while they were still fresh and our smiles revealed little seeds in little teeth. Strawberry shortcake. Blueberry cobbler. Memories with each and every bite. Then came the twins. It is amazing that each generation follows the same as the one before without any training. Berry seems to come from limb to lips without a moment's hesitation.

This year our crops of fresh strawberries are bursting with fruit. Contrary to when we raised potatoes and tomatoes, there are no migrants to pick them. This is a major concern as to whether the crops will be saved. Yes, the price will soar. Perhaps they can find enough children to pick them with their parents, but in hindsight we have learned that they eat more than they can toss into the bucket.

Blue lips and strawberry fields. Memories that I cherish. Fruit that we savor. Yep, blue lips and strawberry fields.