Friday, August 17, 2012

A Rerun - For Emma

One night this week, two of Caroline's best friends came over to say goodbye--they are all leaving for college soon, so they were having one last movie night at our house. And while one of the girls will actually be Caroline's roommate next year, the other is moving a long, long way away. As I was hugging her goodbye, sweet Emma said to me, "I'm reading your blog! I've been reading it since we went blueberry picking that day." I laughed so hard as I remembered that fateful blueberry non-picking day, and I told her I would rerun the story just for her.

So Emma, this one is for you. I wish you all the best in college (I know you will do great!) and look forward to actually picking blueberries with you some day. We love you, sweetie!

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Warning: The tale you are about to read will make you weep. If it doesn’t, you have no soul.

Today was going to be a great day. It was the one day of the summer that I probably look forward to more than any of the year. It’s the day I pack my little darlings in the car and drive for a little over an hour to a blueberry farm where we get to stand in a field, pick berries, and sweat. It’s glorious, and it’s a tradition that we’ve held to pretty much since before Maggie was born.

Today was going to be the day.

But it wasn’t.

Oh, we left our house at nine o’clock this morning, alright. We drove down the highway. We even suffered through a traffic jam for about 45 minutes while singing “Mama Mia” hits. We finally made it to our destination, albeit a little late, but very excited to start filling our little metal pails with blueberry goodness.

But as we drove to the gate of the farm, this is what greeted us:

For those of you who can’t quite read the sign, here’s what it said: “We are closed until Monday, July 27. We finished the 1st pick and the berries need more time to ripen for the 2nd pick. We have large crowds.”

Every one of our jaws dropped as the realization of the situation came upon us. I very nearly drove into the ditch.

“WHAT?!” we all screamed at once.

No blueberries. No blueberry muffins. No blueberry coffee cake. No blueberry crisp. No blueberry pie.

The blueberry farm’s predicament was truly our demise as we realized that today was it. The only day we could work in a trip to the farm to pick blueberries. Next week, all the girls will be gone on different trips, so there was no chance we could go back.

My heart started to sink and sink fast. I knew we had to do something (believe me, the thought of parking down the road and sneaking into the berry farm actually crossed my mind for a minute), so we headed into the nearest town to the diner we always hit on our way home, and we ate lots of greasy food at 11:00 in the morning. Disgusting, I know. But desperate times call for desperate measures.

And then we headed home. Dazed and confused we were, and suddenly Kate realized that we (O.K., I was) moving through the five stages of grief.

Here’s kind of how it went down:

Stage 1 – Denial. “OH NO! This can’t be happening! How could they do this to us?” This was the point at which I contemplated hiding my car in the woods and sneaking onto the property. Who cares that I didn’t have a bucket in the car? I’d figure something out. I just knew I HAD to have those berries.

Stage 2 – Anger. “I called last week and they said they’d be picking for three weeks! They can’t do this!” My rational brain was completely gone by now and my crazy-out-of-my-mind brain took over, thinking of every possible reason I could have to take that berry farm to court. Don’t they know this is the ONLY day all summer that we could get out to their lousy farm to pick their scrawny berries out in the scorching heat?

Stage 3 – Bargaining. “They might not have enough berries for everyone, but maybe they would have enough for me. Maybe if I offer them a little more money, they would open the gate to just let my one little car through. We wouldn’t take too many. There would be plenty left for next week’s suckers pickers.”

Stage 4 – Depression. “You girls go ahead and eat your lunch and drink your milk shakes. I couldn’t eat a thing. I’m just too sad.” And on it went, throughout lunch and the drive home. Me, shaking my head, pounding my fists on the steering wheel (I guess that takes me back to the anger stage, doesn’t it?), and saying, “I’m just so sad” for the next hour or so.

Stage 5 – Acceptance. Truthfully? I’m not there yet. I’m not sure I’ll ever be there.

I sure had different expectations for today’s blog post. I was going to come home and take pictures of the freezer bags filled with blueberries stacked up on my kitchen counter. I was going to bake a pie and show you how beautiful it was.

Instead, I’m sitting, still depressed, on my porch writing this sad tale of woe.

The saddest part, to me, though, is that we didn’t make it to the blueberry farm last year either. We were either out of town or too busy, so we didn’t go. And now this. Does missing a tradition for two years in a row make it not a tradition anymore?

Because if that’s the case, I’m sadder than I even was this morning.

* * *

Now, if you're wondering about Fabulous Friday Food, don't despair. Here's a link to one of my all-time favorite blueberry recipes (and the FFF post that shows how it's done). Have a great weekend!



  1. I must not have a soul (I am a ginger, after all), because this post made me laugh. Can you imagine?

    Picture a brand-new mom who had just moved into her brand-new house (a 1918 fixer-upper) in her brand-new state (Michigan). Her baby is three months old today. And it's raining, so she can't do much on the house. And it's August in Michigan, so the blueberries are amazing. She starts dreaming of all kinds of blueberry treats that she'll make by spending just a very few dollars. So she puts the baby in the car seat and sets off down the highway. Where she has a WRECK. Thank God, no one is hurt, but the wreck is her fault. She gets a citation for Failure to Yield Right of Way. Her car (her little family's only car, by the way) gets towed away. The policeman gives her and her baby a ride home--in the back of the squad car. Bless his heart, he was so sweet: "Ma'am, they don't call them 'on-purposes.' " And then, the next day, HER NAME AND HER CRIME APPEAR IN THE CITY NEWSPAPER. So when she and her little family visit a church that weekend (a church within walking distance of their house), people there say, "Oh, I saw your name in the paper!"

    Blueberry grief. I'm with you, sister. :)

  2. BTW, that 3-month-old is now 21 years and 3 months old.

    He no longer fits in his car seat.