Well, I was bound and determined to get a walk in this morning. All this commotion, between the house, errands, plus the hot, humid and rainy weather, has left me scrambling with an agenda that is a little catch-as-catch-can. It has been making me quite cranky.
I planned on walking yesterday – that is, until the alarm rang, and, before I could plant my feet onto the floor, a few raindrops sputtered on the patio roof, and soon a torrential rain was teeming onto that metal awning right behind my head. It didn’t clear up until late morning.
You never hear the expression “catch-as-catch-can” anymore, though I recall my parents using it all the time. I guess the modern variation of this phrase would be “making hay while the sun shines”, “gettin’ ‘er done” or maybe “it’ll happen if the moon and stars are aligned just right” … no doubt there are other sayings as well.
It has been a long week and I was eager to get back to Council Point Park.
At first blush, the slight breeze felt kind of nice, as it was a tad hot and humid, but, by the time I got to the second and less-shady loop, I was wishing I had worn lighter clothes. I saw no squirrels and I had a plastic bag tied onto my fanny pack loaded with peanuts. The loaded bag kept thumping against my thigh with each step that I took, so, I could have had a much lighter load had I known there would be no squirrels visiting me on the path today.
The geese were also conspicuously absent, so I wondered if the DNR had sprayed the grass with goose repellent. Lest you think that last sentence was a joke, I was told a few years ago, that once the goslings are able to fly, the grass is cut and sprayed with a non-toxic, but bad-tasting substance to urge the geese to graze elsewhere, like behind the soccer field and baseball diamonds. This keeps them from getting onto the trail and bothering the visitors who want to walk, run or ride their bicycles on the perimeter path.
On the last loop, I was enjoying some much-desired shade from a group of trees and bushes, when suddenly I came upon two women. One was pushing a stroller. I usually see the pair on the trail walking, without the child in tow, so I was ready to say “good morning” when I noticed they were getting up close and personal with a sapling. Sensing a possible photo op of a bird’s nest with baby birds, I quickly stepped over closer to them and said “what has caught your attention here?” I got ready to take the camera out of the pouch. Both ladies smiled, their lips stained bright purple, and they pointed to their hands (likewise stained purple) where they had been holding the plump, ripe berries. “Wild black raspberries” one of them said, in between bites. Hmmm. I never knew that berries grew on trees, so that was news to me. The sapling was weighed down by many long and twiggy-looking branches, all which were laden with black berries. It was tucked between two larger trees, so perhaps this was why the birds had not yet discovered this treat, because they would have glommed onto them for sure. These fellow walkers told me they have been getting berries here for years. One lady confessed “I don’t know how to make a pie so I eat them like this” as she popped a few more in her month as if they were M&Ms, right after plucking them from the tree. I also confessed that I was no pie maker and agreed that simple is the best option sometimes.
Well, since I was a woman on the move this morning, and making up for lost miles, I said “enjoy” and resumed my walk. I kept an eye to the sky which was starting to get about as black as those berries.
The encounter with the ladies and the berries made me think of my childhood friend Maureen. Suddenly, I knew there was a Friday flashback of berry good memories churning around in my brain, just begging to become today’s blog post.
Maureen and I lived in the same block and became friends after our family moved to the States in 1966. Her folks set up a new swimming pool that year in their backyard, right after school let out for the Summer. It was a metal pool, about three feet tall and generously sized to accommodate both of us and a few float toys. We’d climb the ladder and get into the water, which was gently warmed by the rays of the sun, and this was how we passed the time all Summer long.
The Hallers had a row of red raspberry bushes planted all along the fence line and conveniently reachable from the pool. While their brown hound dog frolicked around the perimeter of the pool, wishing he could jump in and join us, we’d be pulling raspberries off the bush, just as fast as we could. We would be alternatively popping those sweet berries into our mouth and sipping a fizzy Faygo Rock N’ Rye in one of those tall and colorful aluminum tumblers that were all the rage in the mid-1960s. Ahhhh, life was sweet at 10 ½ years old, with not a care in the world … that is, until Mrs. Haller called out the window “now girls, remember not to pick any raspberries from the bottom half of the bushes in case Brownie peed on them okay?”
[Image by Pixel2013 from Pixabay]