Friday, August 14, 2009

Blueberries for Sal and My Lifelong Dream

Today I fulfilled a lifelong dream: I picked blueberries. Now, it's not my only dream, and it's certainly not the only thing I ever want to accomplish. But it's something I've wanted to do since I was about four.

You see, my mom checked out Blueberries for Sal from the library for me when I was little, and we read it together. And I remember being completely enthralled with the story of Sal and her mother picking blueberries together. Her mom had a big bucket, and Sal had a little bucket. Sal picked her own blueberries, and they fell plunk! into her pail. And she could eat the berries, too. In fact, she ate all three berries in her bucket.

The pictures in the book were beautiful, and Sal and her mom looked so happy. By the time the story was over, I knew what my mom and I needed to do.

We had to go pick blueberries.

However, there was a small problem with my plan. We lived in Oklahoma, and there were no blueberries there. It wasn't just that we couldn't go right that minute, or it wasn't the right season. We couldn't go, period. Ever.

The idea that I just couldn't do something I wanted to, no matter how much I wanted to do it, was quite a concept. After all, I still believed kisses made owies better.

Fast forward a few years to today. I'm, well, a lot older now. My own kid outgrew the Sal book a long time ago. And I don't live in Oklahoma anymore. Here in Wisconsin, there are blueberries to pick.

And when friends invited me to go berry-picking with them, I figured I at least owed it to myself--my four-year old self is still in there somewhere--to go pick blueberries just like Sal.

And you know, in a way it was as magical as I'd imagined. The berries are sweet and plump, and come right off the bush when you pick them. They're full of good flavor, unlike the bland ones from the grocery store. I'd tried the grocery store ones occasionally over the years, and always wondered if blueberries were really as good as they were supposed to be.

They are. The real ones are.

Another interesting parallel is that Sal met a baby bear when she picked blueberries. I did not meet a bear today, but I did manage to bring home a tiny slug who was hiding in my berry bucket. I even picked it up and let it crawl on me, and I forgot to be grossed out.

Now that's some real magic.


Tamara Hart Heiner said...

You should have just driven up to Arkansas. We've got plenty of blueberry patches here. I remember that book! For some reason the little bear always scared me.

Katie Parker said...

Wow, I wish I'd have known about Arkansas when I was four! That would have been fun (though probably not as much fun as I thought it was going to be). I was into the Little Bear books at the time, too, so the idea of meeting a little bear made the whole idea that much more appealing to me.

HOWARD'S said...

I don't think I have ever known anyone who has been blueberriy picking, atleast no one as told me that they have gone. In the last month, there has been about 3 different people that went to pick blueberries. It's made me think I want to go pick them too. Although, I don't think you can in Utah either. Maybe we'll just have to go to the library and check out this book your talking about.

Congratulations on getting to pick bluberries! I'm a little grossed out that you let a slug crawl on you but I'm gald you had fun!

Now, How about riding a bike?

Katie Parker said...

He was only a tiny slug.

And I've ridden a bike. Just not for very long.

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