STRAWBERRY FIELDS (FOREVER) or FOR THE LOVE OF STRAWBERRIES
April 18, 2021
By Emily Lee Stehle
Oops! I did it again! It’s not just the title of a song. I may have mentioned that I can’t count…truly. My last blog post should be Blog #19. Today’s is Blog #20. At least, I can say, a good cuppa joe helped me see that.
It’s time for Bird Nest Story #3. Another about Richard Lee’s (the younger of my two brothers) adventures that happened one hot summer day. He was anywhere between the ages of 8-11. We were hanging around the house because it was too hot to be outside. I don’t know where any of my other siblings were.
Background: We lived in rural New Jersey and had 7 1/2 acres of land around the Pink House (that’s what we called it; an originally yellow house transformed by pink aluminum siding). Our neighbor, Mr. Wiley ran a produce stand at his house. My parents agreed to let him plant crops on our property; in exchange, we could pick whatever we wanted, anytime. For many summers, we picked a lot of green beans and strawberries.
Back to the story:
For the Love of Strawberries!
July 11, 2019
It was summer, sticky hot, and my brother Rich and I were just hanging around the house. Mom caught us and shooed us outside.
“We need green beans and strawberries for dinner,” she said. “Pick some good ones,” handing us two colanders.
Rich grumbled as we walked out to the rows of green beans and strawberries.
“It’s not fair,” he said. “Why do WE have to pick the beans? Everybody else is going to eat’em, too.”
I decided to humor him.
“Yeah, but if we pick enough strawberries, we might have strawberry shortcake!”
“But we need a lot, there’s too many of us,” he said. “We’ll be out here pickin’ strawberries all night,” he griped. “Maybe forever!”
“Well what d’ya want to do about it?”
“I don’t know, but I’m so mad. I’m really mad,” Rich said.
“How mad? Mad enough to say……you wanna run away?”
“Yeah, mad enough to run away!”
“You’ve never done that before! You wanna be a hobo? Do you know what you need?”
“Nah, it’s easy! Just pack a couple of things!”
“Oh, you need a stick and a handkerchief or something like that to wrap some food and your favorite toys. Right?”
“Yeah, that sounds right!”
“And maybe some clean underwear or clothes. Your toothbrush?”
“Do you know where you wanna go?”
“Nope. But I wanna run away.”
“Do you want me to come with you?”
“Then we’ll go when everyone goes to sleep,” I said.
We snapped the green beans. They clunked as they hit my mom’s metal colander. We were more careful with the big, juicy red and ripe strawberries as we placed them in the bigger colander. Yum! Lots of strawberries. We picked the four rows and filled up the container.
…Several hours later
Rich had already brushed his teeth and looked comfy in his bed when I entered his bedroom.
“Hey, did you want to run away tonight?”
“Um….I kinda forgot.”
“There’s still time, we can still go,” I said. “But we gotta pack.”
“Do we have to go now? I’m kinda tired. Maybe we’ll go tomorrow.”
“Are you still mad?” I asked. “Mad enough to run away?”
“Nah. I’m not mad anymore.”
“Wasn’t the strawberry shortcake that Mom made us really good?“
“Yeah, it was really good.”
“Well, tomorrow we can pick more strawberries and have shortcake again. What do ya think?
“Yeah, more strawberry shortcake!
Next Week: The Blue Monster Update. And Squeaky helps.