Picking Raspberries: Thorns, Sunburn, Stains — Oh My!

One of my favorite memories growing up on our farm was that special time in late June / early July when our wild black raspberry plants came alive. There were freshly washed sherbet buckets lined up on the front porch, along with my own greedy stomach, just waiting to be filled.

    "G’damn it girl, put on a long-sleeved shirt before you go out in those thorns. And long pants. And stay out of that patch back by the machine shed."

    "You know you are going to be sorry if you don’t put that sunblock on before you go out there."

    "Just make sure you get almost as many berries into the buckets as you get into your mouth."

Lines straight from my grandfather’s mouth every summer once the berries turned that perfect shade of deep purple. And as would be expected, I never listened to any of the orders given.

And inevitably, I would wander back into the house at the end of the day with scratched up arms and legs, a mean sunburn and a tongue that looked like it would be stained purple forever. And I was never happier.

Some days I think I’d give anything to go back to that time, when I had nothing to worry about except finding the sweetest and plumpest berries to fill those buckets. But even more is that I wish I could package up those times and memories and give them to my niece and any future kids of my own.

There were no TVs, insanely expensive toys, or exotic family vacations. There was fresh air and sunshine to be enjoyed, bikes and skateboards to ride, books to read, fresh food to eat, hand-built tree forts and swing sets to play on, secret hiding places to explore and chores to be accomplished.

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