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Not too Proud to Pick

14 Jun

Few things give me greater joy that picking fresh fruits and vegetables. This morning, upon awakening the usual “to-do” list immediately made an appearance. In a matter of minutes I had jotted ten things on a list and effectively filled the day. Punting them all, I gathered a recycled plastic bucket and begin walking toward the Target Super Center where a plethora of berries hung waiting for a brave picker such as yours truly.

Here in Atlanta folk aren’t enthusiastic about berry picking. Especially since these berries are situated along a busy road. For me, picking is therapeutic. Place me in a field and I won’t leave until every single thing is harvested.

Lord, please protect me from snakes, bees and biting ants, I think while stepping into a field abundant with Queen Anne’s Lace. Oh and please, no chiggers. I add.

Where I grew up Queen Anne’s Lace is called the “Chigger Plant.”

My thoughts raced as fast as the rushing cars. Allow me to share them with you.

My mom would like a cobbler. I should take her some. She has chemo this Friday and I am always trying to think of something special for her.

I am so thankful my husband has a job. We-like many-have seen our share of job loss and financial worries.

The peaches will be ready soon. Oh how my Dad loves peaches. I should take him some as a Father’s Day gift.

Protect my daughter from the school bully. She witnessed one student threaten another yesterday…something she will not tolerate.

Thank you for Kelle. My fellow picker. Help Doe as she travels. She suffers from flight-anxiety. Be with my friends who are struggling on many levels.

Thank you for giving Courtney the gift of healing. I feel so much better. Courtney is a healing massage therapist who recently unkinked my very painful back ailment.

As the bucket fills the light strikes the berries in a way that causes my eyes to well with tears. Oh. How precious is my life. How I take it for granted. How rapid the years are slipping away.

With the bucket full, I walk home. As my muscles protest beneath the weight I think, what am I going to do with all these berries?. Almost immediately an elderly lady approaches. I know. I will give some away. I will give some to a stranger.

“Good morning. How are you today?” I ask wearing a smile and juice-stained fingertips. She grunts a response. Again another lesson in how our actions affect our life. She will not receive any berries.

I’ll call Miss Mary. She’ll appreciate them. I think as I turn into my driveway.

Renea Winchester is the author of In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes. She is an award-winning author who was recently named the Author of the Year by the National Pen Women Association, Atlanta Chapter. The 100th subscriber to her blog will receive a $ 10.00 Gift Certificate to Botanical Interests, a family owned company whose products Renea adores.

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8 responses to “Not too Proud to Pick

  1. Karen Nolan Bell

    June 14, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Renea, you’ve inspired me this morning. And I will be searching out some of those berries. It brings back so many memories of picking berries with my Dad in the mountains of southeastern Kentucky. I remember those snakes, too. Rattlesnakes love berries. I long for the berry stained fingertips–and lips. God is good.

     
  2. Gary Vaughn

    June 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Thanks, Renea

     
  3. Kimberly Adamson

    June 14, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Renea, You are a precious friend! Your blog is a blessing. Thank you for the memories it brought of growing up, thank you for the few moments to reflect during my day, and thank you for sharing thoughts of your friends as it prompted me to pray for them also and to remember how blessed I am by friends in my life.

     
  4. Satin Sheet Diva

    June 14, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    We had blackberry bushes along the fence in our backyard where I lived in Burwell, UK. I miss that place, that time in my life. I’d go out and pick those bushes naked, lol. It’s a wonderful thing to have them growing wild and close to home. 🙂

     
  5. Jemille

    June 14, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    You are such a breath of sunshine! You brought back my precious blackberry picking memories. I went to an unusual summer camp. My five-years-older sister went to a horse camp, but by the time I was old enough to go, they had folded. They did informally take in three or four kids, so I was packed off to a working hog farm!
    I wouldn’t take anything for the unique (in my city-girl life) experiences I had.
    They had a dog named “Cat” who would curl up his lips and pluck blackberries off the canes. He would also jump up and grab corn cobs from the stalks, holding it in his paws and tearing the husk off to take his sweet prize within.
    That sweet fresh corn ruined me for store-bought produce. I didn’t know then that I was tasting the pesticides, but I knew nothing compared to harvest fresh peas, watermelon, and corn!
    As a young woman just out of college in the late 70’s, I had velveteen jacket with puffed sleeves and a sweetheart neckline that was considered career wear. i found it was the perfect berry-picking jacket — even though the heat of summer blazed as i pulled my car onto the shoulder and happily picked as cars zipped past me!
    I, too, am terrified of snakes, but know that if you stamp and shuffle, they usually make themselves scarce.
    Happy picking!

     
  6. theresa

    June 14, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Renea, You have humbled me with your thoughts and prayers while you pick. The other day while picking blackberries for the first time, this was my constant thought…Why oh why Lord have you surrounded these berries with thorns!

     
  7. latebloomershow

    June 17, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    I am going out now to pick and HOPE I have enough berries to put on my yogurt. Yesterday, I ate 5 blackberries right off the vine, so, not sure I have more than 3 or 4 strawberries. Great post, thanks!

     
  8. niki

    June 22, 2012 at 11:14 am

    I don’t know about chiggers but I do know if you pick Queen Anne’s Lace and place in a vase with food coloring and water it’ll make the blooms change color…

     

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