By Judy Berman
Walking along tidy rows of indigo-colored fruit, we quickly plucked the plumpest, juiciest ones.
How is it that this simple excursion reminded me of my Mom, a run-in with a bear and Fats Domino?
Blame it on the blueberries.
In mid-May, our daughters, a son-in-law and grandchildren continued the family tradition of blueberry-picking at a U-Pick farm in St. Cloud, Florida. It was quite a change from experiences my family had when I was a teen in Oswego County, New York.
Mom told me once about a scary time she had when she was picking berries in the fields and woods near our home and ran into a bear.
Well, not running into, actually. She spotted the furry hulk a few bushes away. Mom made a quick check to be sure she wouldn’t be in between the mama bear and any cub she might have in tow.
Then Mom flung her pan and blueberries into the air, fled the hills and bolted for home.
My folks had 66 acres, and some of it bordered state land. So it wasn’t uncommon to be lured off the path by a tempting berry bush.
Before you know it, you’d look around to get your bearings and realize you had no clue where you were.
That’s what happened when Mom was out with our neighbor, Sophie.
They got lost, and Mom knew Sophie was panicking. In an effort to calm Sophie, Mom lied and told Sophie that she knew exactly where they were.
Fortunately, they stumbled into a scout camp a short time later. Someone brought both of them back home.
The best part, of course, is when Mom returned home with the blueberries. We knew we’d soon be munching down on one of Mom’s mouth-watering blueberry pies or blueberry jam.
And, Fats Domino? How did that rhythm-and-blues artist become a part of this story?
Well, Fats recorded “Blueberry Hill.” When it played on the radio, my brother, Hank, and I would warble along with him as he sang “I found my thrill, on Blueberry Hill, on Blueberry Hill, when I found you.”
Mom had an accent. She would pronounce hill like “heel,” and berry like “burry.” Just like Fats Domino.
Hank and I would always make sure to sing that tune real loud — accentuating “hill” and “berry” — when she was around. Mom knew what we were up to. But she’d just smile and tune us out.
Actually, we were sending her subliminal messages. Hoping that the song itself would inspire her to return to blueberry hill and then back to us with more luscious berries.
A long overdue thank you to Mark Bialczak, a dear friend, who nominated me for the Liebster Award. Mark’s blog is a link to my Central New York roots. His posts range from music to movies to neighborliness and is always a great read. For details on this award, go to Mark’s blog. http://markbialczak.com/2014/03/29/i-have-been-dragon-my-feet-on-loyalty-liebster-awards/
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Music video: Blueberry Hill by Fats Domino – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dl5hknXqXps
Photo: Black Bear – taken by Jon Sullivan http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f2/Black_bears.jpg/640px-Black_bears.jpg
Photo: A blueberry bush at the U-Pick farm St. Cloud, Florida. (family photo)
Photo: Blueberries – two handfuls – taken by Gordana Adamovic-Mladenovic from Windsor, Canada on Aug. 31, 2009 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/99/Weather_tomorrow-_sunny_with_plentiful_blueberries.jpg/480px-Weather_tomorrow-_sunny_with_plentiful_blueberries.jpg
Photo: Fats Domino – taken at a concert in Germany in 1977 by Klaus Hiltscher http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d8/Fats_Domino_1977.jpg/640px-Fats_Domino_1977.jpg