Raspberries, Strawberries

By O’Ceallaigh

I eat strawberries for breakfast every morning.

Barefoot Boy       I rise at about 0600, drink two glasses of water with lemon and head out on my morning walk. Upon returning, I rest a bit, read or study for perhaps an hour and then do my oatmeal – with raisins! Usually there is a Ciabatta roll that I can stick in the toaster creating a little substance in my breakfast. Real butter, and then smeared with Peanut Butter! – I’ll be right back! I’m getting hungry!!

Now then, where was I?

Oh, yes, then in my bowl I dice a quarter of a Fuji apple and slice four strawberries on which a put a smattering of honey. Then a beautiful, yellow, Honduras or Ecuador banana sliced up to top it off.

What a breakfast! If only…!

When I was little, dressed in rolled-up bib overalls, I was probably about 5 years old, I would walk up across the 12 acre field with my mother, cross over the line-fence onto my Grandfather’s property and wade through grass and weeds that were 12 feet high, maybe less, to a place where wild strawberries grew.

Now, wild strawberries have no comparison to the berries that we get nowadays in the super markets. These wild berries grew down amongst the weeds and the roots of the grasses in my Grandfather’s field. Nearly indiscernible while standing at my full height of nearly three feet, they were about the size of a pencil eraser at the small end of the spectrum to the size of a thumb-nail at the large end. One did not pick them until they were all red and ripe and juicy! Then they were absolutely delicious!

I remember reading Longfellow’s poem, The Barefoot Boy! -That one line that said, “With thy red lip redder still, kissed by strawberries on the hill” told me that Henry had probably spent time in my Grandfather’s field on hot summer days, too!

No honey on these little babies! They were sweet enough!

But, it took forever to pick them!

We had five in our family and each one would want at least four half biscuits, smeared with butter and buried in those luscious berries! Do – do you know how many berries that would take? Well, it would take…

I have no idea how many it would take, but when Momma and I were picking them I was convinced that it was going to take twenty three million seven hundred sixty five thousand and a few hundred besides to cover those biscuits. When I was eating the shortcake though, it seemed that it was more like three, or maybe four! We had just never picked enough!

Oh! Those were real berries!

I can’t walk up across the field with my Mother anymore. I can’t cut through the line-fence to where the wild strawberries grow and sit there in my rolled-up bib-overalls picking (and eating) that sweet fruit. But I can surely remember doing it.

Now, we drive a few miles with friends to a 200 acre field with raised strawberry beds, wrapped in plastic, with the plants sticking up out of the beds just asking to be harvested. One scarcely need bend over to pick them. And then, when you do, you need to be careful lest you get fruit either too ripe or too green! Too ripe and the berries just don’t last! Too green and half the berry from the hull (or the heel) up is white and hard!

Maybe they should plant the berries in the field and let the grass grow to twelve feet, maybe a little less, so the berries have a chance to mature in more natural surroundings! Maybe there needs to be more sharing of the berries with nature! You know, the field mice, garter snakes, frogs. Come to think of it, I’m not so sure frogs eat strawberries anyway.

This I know! I’d sure like to see berries the size of the ones I pick in Florida now but having the flavor and the sweetness of the wild strawberries that we used to find over the meadow, and across the line-fence and up through the tall grass to the place on Grandfather’s farm where they grew amongst the weeds and the roots of the grass!

2_wild_strawberries_very_close_up_UK_2006        “les fraises et les fromboises et les bon vins [que] nous avons bu.”

“Raspberries, strawberries, the good wines they brew! Here’s to the girls of the countryside whom we must bid adieu.”

Maybe someday I’ll find that patch of wild strawberries again. If I do, I’ll be sure to let you know.

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This entry was posted in Genreal Musings/Stories. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Raspberries, Strawberries

  1. vinceeri109 says:

    I wish I could have known her………..but somehow, I feel like I do through my mother. I look forward to getting to know her someday.

    Like

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