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Monday, September 3, 2012

Blackberries

  There is a blackberry bush in my back yard.  It is a mess of vines, really, untamed, and full of blossoms and fruit this year.  We tried to organize it on a bit of home-made trellis, but it has wrapped itself around the neighbour's bordering bushes and wanders down the rocks, in spite of my tidying it up now and then.

  I planted the bush rather nostalgically.  I grew up in the Fraser Valley, where wild blackberries grow in abandon, and every year we picked them.  Free is always good!  It was a prickly adventurous affair, with sweet results.

 Andy, my first husband, and the father of my children, loved blackberries.  They always make me think of him.  Every year, almost without fail, he would go off seeking the wild berries, and bring me a bucket or two.  Then my job began, and I juiced them and made our annual batch of blackberry jelly, a staple in our house.  I'd mix the blackberry juice with apple juice and it was a lovely blend.

  He has been gone, to his heavenly home, seventeen years this September, and this time of year always brings those memories to my mind.  Good memories.

  And so, because I love blackberries, and my children do too, I planted a blackberry bush a few years ago.  It seemed fitting, and being a rather thrifty Mennonite at times, I simply could not bring myself to pay over $30 a flat for Okanagan blackberries, the going rate here...  Last year we thought our little bush had died.  After a rough winter, only a stick or two remained, and I was pleased and delighted with it's revival this year!

  So now the tradition continues.  No, maybe my blackberry bush is not wild, and I did buy the thorn-less variety!  But hand in hand with my little grandson, we have picked blackberries together in the last couple of weeks.  And I hope his memories too will be sweet as we carry on traditions from the past and create new traditions for our future generation.


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