Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘and blackberries’

            Springtime in Florida was always a multi-colored landscape of hues of green, buttercup yellow, and pastel pink. We watched for those delicate white blooms to dot prickly vines that grew along roadsides and covered fence lines. Those tiny flowers with pollen-filled centers, swayed in the breeze and honey bees swarmed, promising yummy desserts and black stained fingers.

            Lumpy, green balls soon replaced the blossoms and confirmed this was indeed the perfect patch. Our very own blackberry patch. We kept an eye on those hard green spheres as they ballooned into hundreds of scarlet berries. And we waited for sunny days and spring rains to urge their yearly transformation into plump, delicious blackberries.

            Eventually the day arrived. And the berries were ripe for picking. One such day, our family piled into our ‘57 Ford, and headed toward our special berry patch alongside a country road near the marshes of the St. Johns River, outside of Jacksonville, Florida.

            The Gooding family joined this annual first-blackberry-picking event of the season. There were six of them—three boys and three girls. My brother and I brought the number to eight boisterous youngsters—ready for the hunt!

            Parents set our boundaries and issued warnings about snakes, stickers and sandspurs. They might as well-a’-been-talkin’ to the wind. We grabbed our buckets and raced down the slope to be first to find the biggest blackberry in the patch.

            Shouts of competitive exuberance filled the air.

            “I got the big one!”

            “ Nope, I do!”

             We shrieked and laughed and scrambled here and there, hoping to find the berry of the day—waiting to be picked by someone—hopefully me. And truth is, we ate as many as we picked, evidenced by toothy grins smeared with tell-tale black juice tinting our lips, our tongues, and grimy fingers.

            During one of those scrambles Elaine, running faster than all the rest, lost her balance, bounced bottom first down the sandy slope, and landed right in the middle of a patch of cactus.

            Her wails brought an end to our fun. We gathered our juice-stained buckets, full of  luscious berries and trudged up the hill. And deposited our black jewels in pans provided by the moms. The two dads carried the wounded berry-picker to the car where she laid, face-down across our laps, and cried all the way home.

            Our moms washed the black treasures, then mixed ingredients for the anticipated cobbler. My dad churned the homemade vanilla ice cream that would crown the scrumptious berries already bubbling in the oven.

             That left the unpleasant task of removing those nasty stickers from Elaine’s backside to her dad.

            I’ll admit, we were not sympathetic onlookers. She had spoiled our fun. We sneaked peeks around the corner and snickered and giggled with every shriek of pain—secretly grateful it wasn’t one of us.

            Glasses of iced tea with mint sprigs, bowls filled with warm cobbler and scoops-full of homemade ice cream proved our blackberry-picking day a success.

             Then we lingered in the backyard as the last moments of the day slipped away, swaying and singing in old wooden swings that hung by gnarled ropes from aged oak trees. But when fireflies flickered in the hedges, a whole new chase was on—to see who would capture the biggest, brightest insect.

            Everyone but Elaine, who stood with her bowl of cobbler and a sore backside. And her reward? The paddle from the ice cream churn!

            I no longer search country lanes, but drive to Walmart and buy expensive berries, packed in plastic—not a kid’s bucket—with a layer of moldy ones on the bottom.

             This evening I sat on the patio and watched the sun sink below the horizon, while the latest accounts of troubling information blared on the evening news, and my grandchildren texted me in three word sentences.

            I recalled these joyful childhood memories as I watched a couple of fireflies dart in and out of the bushes around our pond and marveled that times may change, but God is the same—yesterday, today, and forever. He is sovereign and on His Throne.

            But it makes my heart sad that my grandchildren will never experience the excitement of beating their friends to the biggest blackberry in the patch, or catching the brightest firefly in their jar, or joining lighthearted conversation with grown-ups as the day comes to an end.

            My memories of a tummy full of cobbler, topped with fresh homemade ice cream, wrapped in the blanket of love provided by family and friends, while holding my jar full of God’s miraculous, little lights, are safely tucked in the secret places of my heart.

            Precious memories this world of technology and idols can never duplicate.

“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10 NAS).

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: