Have you ever picked blackberries over in the field?

Ann H Gabhart Heart of Hollyhill

July 21, 1965
Jocie Brooke here reporting from Holly County. Guess what I did last weekend? Right. Went blackberry picking on Miss Sally’s farm. She thought it would be too late to find any, but they must have been waiting for the rain and so had to wait a little longer to get ripe. Miss Sally said she’d teach me how to make a blackberry pie. Aunt Love makes cobblers, but the pie sounds better. Besides, Aunt Love hasn’t been doing so good. I need to find out how to make the pie so I can help Aunt Love not forget to put in the sugar or whatever makes the pie taste good. 

Did you ever go blackberry picking? I always get bit by chiggers when I go – even when I dab bleach around my ankles. Phew! Smells horrible but not quite a bad as coal oil. That’s what Aunt Love says I should have used. But I guess a blackberry pie is worth getting a few itchy places. I’ll paint clear nail polish over them. Zella says that smothers the chiggers. Of course, knowing Zella, she might just be telling me that so that I’ll be spotted with nail polish.

I asked Wes to go with me, but he said earth blackberries were too wild. He says the berries up on Jupiter are so tame and so sweet that when they see you coming toward their bush with a bucket, the berries jump off the bush. So all you have to do is try to catch them in the bucket. Earth blackberry picking is a little harder than that. I’m always getting a briar stuck on my shirt. Sometimes in the front and back and then there I am, having to choose which side I want to get scratched. Then there are those snakes that are no problem at all imagining right under your feet. And once Miss Sally says Mr. Harvey spotted a snake slithering along on top of the vines. Now that would be really scary – if I was hunting for berries and saw snake eyes instead. Shiver! But that didn’t happen. I just found blackberries and those chiggers. 

Have you ever been berry picking? What was the most exciting thing to ever happen to you while picking berries? I guess getting stuck is the most exciting thing to happen to me – if you can call that exciting.

I’m still writing my book, but I don’t think many of you are interested in reading it. 🙁 But for those of you who want to see what happens next to Bailey, I’m putting a couple more pages at the end here. That way whoever wants to read it can and the rest of you can talk about blackberry picking with me. I’ll try not to scratch too much while you’re here.

BAILEY’S BUG – (Check back the last two blogs for the beginning of the story.)

(Bailey just wanted to woof at Lucinda the cat because she keeps saying his boy, Reid isn’t coming back.)

   After a long time he went to the door and plopped down on the rug Mrs. Robinson left there for him to wipe his paws when he came in from the backyard. He shut his eyes, but he didn’t go to sleep. Instead he thought about the last time he’d been with Reid.
   There had been something different about his boys. His eyes had been all wet and he’d kept hugging Bailey and whispering into his fur things Bailey couldn’t quite hear. Funny how Bailey had forgotten that until now.
   Bailey had licked Reid’s face and danced aroudn him on stiff legs. That always made Reid laugh, and it had that day too. But it wasn’t exactly his regular laugh. Still, he had through Bailey the red toy.
   When Bailey ran the thing down and had it trapped on the ground, Reidd said, “I you want the old thing, you keep it. You don’t have to do any silly old tricks.”
   Now Bailey got up and fetched the red thing. His teeth marks were all over it. When he lay back down on the rug with his head on the thing, it hummed under his ear.
   It had sometimes hummed like that when he captured it out in the yard only to look at Reid and know he wanted something more. Bailey would hold the think even tighter to keep it from making an escape until Reid yanked on it. Then Reid would send it flying through the air again. As bailey chase after it, he could hear his boy shouting something, but could never quite figure out what it was Reid said. Bailey knew he didn’t do the trick right. Lucinda told him that. She said dogs never do anything right. 
    The hum got louder in his ears until it was vibrating through him everything. For some reason it made the bottom of his feet feel real itchy and his nose wanted to twitch.
    Bailey raised his head to look around Maybe Reid was calling him, but he couldn’t hear Reid. But he did hear something. He dind’t know exactly where it was coming from, but it was steady in hear ears like the sound of a distant siren.
    He got up and walked around the house to see if the hum was louder in one room or antoher, but it stayed the same. He considered waking Lucinda to see if she heard the hum too, but he didn’t. Not only because she might scratch his nose if he woke her, but because this humming sound was his. He didn’t want her to spoil it by saying he must have a flea in his ear.
    At the big front window, Bailey pressed his nose to the glass and perked up his ears to better hear the hum. All at once, it was almost as if he could see Reid out in the yard calling him. Bailey couldn’t keep from jumping against the window and licking the glass. Reid was out there. He had to be.
   Mrs. Robinson yelled, “Bailey!” She grabbed his collar and jerked him back from the window. “You find more ways to mess things up. Now I’m going to have to wash the window.”
   Bailey’s eyes drooped, and his tail hid between his legs.
   “I don’t know what I’m going to do with you.” Mrs. Robinson shook her head at him.
   Bailey slunk back to his rug. Lucinda glared at him from the chair back, then jumped down to go rub Mrs. Robinson’s legs.
   Bailey didn’t want to upset Mrs. Robinson, but he couldn’t remember her rules when Reid was calling him. And Reid was calling. He’d heard him. That’s what made the hum inside his head.
   Across the room, Lucinda was glaring at him for making Mrs. Robinson cross. She settled on the window seat for yet another nap. But cross as she tried to act, Bailey knew she loved Reid too. Maybe she’d go with him to find Reid. That would be nice. Bailey laid his head down on his paws. The hum was softer now that he wasn’t concentrating on hearing it, but it was still humming. 
   Bailey closed his eyes and went to sleep. In his dreams, he and Lucinda crossed grassy yards and parks until they found Reid. Reid laughed when he saw them, and Bailey jumped up and licked Reid’s face.  Reid laughed and laughed. 
    Bailey wanted to hear Reid laugh again. He wanted to lick his boy’s face again. If only he could figure out which way to go first.