Tuesday, July 07, 2009

through the brambles

gabrielle kai

If I were to enter my own Summer photo challenge, I would have to photograph some berries. Berries are summer.

When I was a kid, I used to creep into my neighbors berry patch and steal the fruit from the vine. The berries were warm, almost hot from the sunshine and so intoxicating my sisters and I frequently gorged ourselves until our bellies ached. We were, of course, found out by our mother who knew well the tell tale signs of berry juice on kid's clothes. She would chastise us half heartedly and the next day we would be back in the berries. I wonder now if our neighbors permitted us this little indulgence. Mr. and Mrs. Chambers were a kindly old couple. Surely as young children we weren't as stealth as we thought.

When I was eleven, my older sister got her period. I was unnerved by the fact that she had moved onto womanhood and left me standing alone in childhood. In an attempt to gain some respect, I stole away to the berry patch. I crouched low so as not to be detected and crushed a handful of berries into my underwear. I then proceeded to convince Heidi that I too had become a bonefide young adult. When could we start shaving our legs? Soon enough, my ruse was discovered and I was relegated back to kiddom. I grabbed my Barbies and sulked off to lick my wounds.

Mr. Chambers just died last week. It's like a little piece of my childhood is gone. I can still see him in my mind's eye, through the raspberry bramble, hanging clothes on their line, puttering around the yard and listening to Spanish language tapes. He always wore his powder blue leisure pants three inches too short with gym socks and black loafers. He had soft doughy cheeks and a shock of white hair.

I will miss that guy.

Man alive, could he grow berries.


stacy di said...

what a sweet sweet {and funny} story.

Laura said...

will buy some berries today and think of you...

Darcie said...

April.... this post is absolutely charming, hilarious, nostalgic (sp?). Loved that you crushed berries in your pants to prove your maturity, that is just too funny. And you described Bro. Chambers to a tee. My mom mentioned to me that he had passed away. Sometimes I forget that No. Ogden continues even though I now live in Salt Lake. I love reminders from my childhood. I miss it sometimes.