Saturday, May 16, 2009

Berry pickin'

Strawberries in Carl Junction have ripened despite the cloudy, drippy days, and Mom, Dad, and I went picking Saturday morning. Dad had thought about going when the patch opened on Wednesday, but lost his nerve at the thought of managing Mom and picking at the same time. He says he really can't take her anywhere anymore, because she's "so damned unpredictable." I don't think she's unpredictable, at all. You can count on the fact that whatever you're doing, she's going to walk off and asking her to come back will have no effect whatsoever. What's unpredictable about that? Anyway, we went and she picked a good number of berries here, there, and everywhere. Most of the time she was content to stand and hold the crate for me while I picked. The patch is a side business owned by Devri's boyfriend and his family, so we had Patrick, (the boyfriend) on hand to help as well. We got a system down where Patrick stood on one end of the row picking, while Dad and I picked at the opposite end. Mom would walk all the way down the row, stopping to pick here and there, but ultimately had in mind to leave the patch. Patrick would catch her on the other end and point her back to Dad and I and say, "Let's pick some more berries." She headed back to Dad and I, picking as she went, then turned and headed back again to Patrick. Back and forth she went, but she did pick quite a few berries and the day was warm, wet, and farm fresh. I was glad she was pacing in a berry patch rather than a nursing home. How great is that! When we got home back to my house, Dad went home in hopes of taking an uninterrupted nap and Mom and I began stemming the 28.5 pounds of berries we had carted out. (Cost us $50 bucks, but we just couldn't stop!) Mom always stems her berries with a spoon rather than a knife, thankfully, and we spent an hour stemming side by side at the sink, mostly in silence. I did get confused a few times and put the stems in with the berries and the berries in with the stems. She chuckled and fished them out for me.

After the stemming we went to the hardware store to have a key made. We dropped off the key, lapped the store, and it was ready when we came back to the problem.

Next stop was the shoe store as Dad had asked me to take Mom to buy some sandals. This was a bit more of a challenge, running between the shoe shelf getting the right size and keeping her in the chair by instructing her to "take off your socks" and "hold this box" and whatever else I could think of to keep her in one place. We were in and out in ten minutes---forget putting those shoes in a bag. Mom took the box and headed for the car, leaving the sales girl holding the sack with a question on her face. No time to explain, just a quick wave, "Thank you very much" and hurry, hurry to catch up with Mom before she got to the door. For someone who walks so slowly, she sure covers ground!

I delivered her home and we made a shortcake, of course, polishing off two pieces each before it was over. It was quite delicious!! Is there anything better than the first strawberry shortcake of the season---that you've picked yourself? I don't think so.

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