Berry: (n) a small roundish juicy fruit without a stone.
I find it mentally erotic to allow each of the words that I write about every day to leap into my memory and drag out the stories.
The word “berry” has two significant meanings to me.
First of all, I love berries. They are something I can eat without guilt, even though they tell me it is possible to consume too many.
I don’t know if I’ve ever eaten a berry I did not like. Some berries do grumble my stomach a bit, but that doesn’t keep me from enduring the growl.
But I also have a memory of berries which is less satisfying–maybe just a little bit frustrating.
When I first got married, my wife and I were very poor. To complicate our poverty, we were also lazy. The two don’t work well together, for when they arrive at the same time, they can leave you really hungering and thirsting.
My parents had a small parcel of land outside of town–a farm which had some blackberry bushes. (I think they’re called bushes. Maybe they’re vines, but I’m too lazy to look it up.)
My wife and I had the brilliant idea of going out, picking blackberries, and selling them door to door. It was not going to guarantee us a lot of money, but it would definitely succeed in buying a loaf of bread, some bologna or even the more coveted peanut butter and jelly.
It was an arduous task.
The berries are small, so it takes a lot of them to fill up a container. We got hot, stung by bugs and poked by thorns. It was not what I would call pleasant, even though we rejoiced in the opportunity and turned it into a lark.
We picked for about three hours and got seven little baskets, which we sold for fifty cents apiece. It was a long time ago, but that still was a good deal.
We were so overjoyed over the process that we decided to do it again two or three days later, but when we went back to the houses to sell our berries, the customers began to complain about twigs in the baskets, and the fact that some of the berries weren’t quite ripe.
Suddenly we had become a $3.50 corporation, which apparently needed a customer relations department. It took a lot of joy out of the experience. One lady even demanded that we return a quarter as a refund.
So as I sit and enjoy my berries topped with a little Cool Whip, I am grateful for those souls who have to pick them … being careful never to complain if I discover a twig.