The first morning in September we woke up to an amazing thunderstorm--lightening and thunder right in sync. Kyle, who was out camping with a friend reported seeing a lightening bolt strike a tree. Mary came in to my room because she was concerned about the rabbits, who have recently moved out to the garage. I was proud of her for thinking of them, but wasn't compassionate enough, myself, to get out of bed and dodge the hail out to the comfort them.
The clouds cleared by the time the sun came up. We had plans for a change. A very kind couple from the church had invited ward members to go out to their farm in Mapleton to pick raspberries. I was happy that the kids were enthusiastic about going, even with the early-on-a-Saturday wake up.
Berry picking is in our genes, as I have mentioned before. My blood runs blue, not from wealth, but blue for Maine blueberries. My mother's father and uncles grew up picking blueberries and my wonderful Great-Uncle Ed managed blueberry fields for almost as long I knew him. Going out to the fields with him, in the back of his pick-up, was always one of the best parts of our visits to Belfast, and even after eating numberless blueberries in his lifetime, Uncle Ed's hands would reach for mouthfuls and enjoy them right in the field, like he was witnessing a new miracle. I was pleased that the most resounding enthusiasm came from my native Mainers, Bethany and Ben, whose birth certificates, for the birthers among you, say Waterville and Portland. Ben was old enough to remember picking blackberries with our good friends, the Bennetts, out by their log cabin, when we lived in Augusta. I remember their daughter walking among the vines barefoot, and thinking how lucky she was to be at home in those acres of woods.
Back to Saturday morning. Our ward friends were so kind to welcome us out to their beautiful, just like the garden of Eden, farm. She is a master horticulturist, and so it was humbling to be in the presence of such well cultivated plants. He, "the farmer" as William called him, was quick to give the little kids bright green buckets with painted raspberries to use as they picked, and introduced us to the hundred plus, golden and checkered chickens, the magnificent white turkeys, and the odoriferous, but palatial chicken coup where "the farmer" generously helped the girls gather brown eggs.
We had gathered a big bowl of raspberries before the thunder and rain began again. All of the kids, but Bethany ran to the van. Bethany was addicted to hunting for red berries in the bushes, and said they seemed to come out of hiding when all the kids went to the van. Our wonderful friend, "the farmer", sent us off with even more berries, frozen and vacuum packed.
I was happy that the kids enjoyed the experience, and grateful for our friends' generosity.