Strawberry Picking

Mar 31, 2012 by

Strawberry Picking

When I was little I had an Amish nanny.  My Mom would drop me off at her house in the morning as she dashed to work with seconds to spare.  Ida would brush and braid my hair, get me into clothes and feed me breakfast.  Then we would be off to do some tasks of the day.

Ida had a daughter of her own, Glenda, she was younger than I.  She was a bit of a trouble maker, but in the best way, the way that you know someone has character.  And together I am sure we made quite the duo.  We would go with Ida everywhere she went the two of us bobbling along behind her.  Often Ida would put us in a little wagon attached to a small tractor of some sort to take us to a back farm to pick fruits or vegetables.  We would bump along jiggling over the ruts and paths until we reached a particular field.

Glenda and I were good at picking vegetables, our little bodies so much closer to the ground, so fresh and new that we didn’t even feel the hours of being hunched over.  Although I am sure our patience at times waned.   Strawberry picking was Glenda and I’s favorite.  They would be so fresh and crisp right off the vine, and so pretty glistening in the sun.  We would spend a few hours going down row after row picking sweet, red berries and putting them into mouths and pales.

On the bumpy ride back, Glenda and I would sneak strawberries as Ida drove back along the bumpy fields and farm paths that connected one parcel to another. Our clothes stained pink, just like our guilty mouths, the tell tale sign of our indulgences.  Ida would yell from the tractor, “Don’t eat all those strawberries!”  We would giggle.  I now try to picture her “serious” face that she would give us to try to convince us not to give into temptation.  I am sure it was hard to suppress the laughter that would come from looking back, seeing two little bundles bobbing along in that wagon eating strawberries and laughing.  And then seeing us at the end, covered in pink stains.  I am sure it ached to hold in how funny that must have been.  Ida has a wonderful sense of humor and a laugh that is easy and joyful.

I know we didn’t eat all the strawberries, as there were plenty for freezing, making into pies, and eating sugared and syrupy for dessert, but my did our dresses look like it.  It’s hard to fathom how sweet those strawberries were, warmed by the sun, so fresh and new in life, never seeing a plastic carton, just bursting with color and flavor.  And in Garrett County you waited so long for them to finally appear, and then they went so fast it was like a burst of exuberance.  A burst of our giggling youth summed up in a taste that came and went too fast.

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