Thursday, July 14, 2011
Long ago and another time.
It was barely dawn.
My barefeet were stuck into an old pair of canvas tennis shoes to protect them.
We walked with our lard buckets gleaming silver in the semi darkness. Dew quickly soaked through our shoes.
We wore bandanas over our heads, long sleeved shirts, and long pants to protect us some from the wild berry briers we would be wandering through on our berry picking 'mission'.
We were pretty quiet as Grandma was not a big conversationalist and of course, we were on a picking mission.
Get the berries picked early in the morning before the July heat bore down upon us.
We arrived at the berry patch.
A wild place deep in the woods.
We silently began to pick.
I know I'd eat just about as many as those that would find their way into my lard bucket that was slung around my small shoulders and neck with a piece of twine.
I remember smelling the twine and thinking what an 'icky' smell it had to it.
My feet and pants were soaked with dew, my hands got scratched while reaching up the berry canes to grab at the dark black ripe berries.
I secretly wondered if I'd picked the all unripe ones, would we have to come back again tomorrow?
Of course we experimented like that as kids, but the berries always seemed plentiful again in a day or so.
When the lard buckets were full, we could walk back towards home.
So there was an incentive to pick as fast as you could.
This morning we were picking away and I looked up at Grandma.
Her faded red bandana was nodding at us.
I glanced at her and she put a finger to her lips and nodded to our right.
She then motioned for us to follow and we did without question.
I was perplexed as my lard bucket was not full and I knew that no one else's was either.
Grandma told us in a quiet voice as we walked down the gravel road towards home that today
...she thought it would be a good idea to let the bear have the berries.