Each year when I start picking blackberries I think of my maternal grandmother, Flora E. Patch. When I knew her she was a farm wife. She and my grandfather had a dairy farm in Vermont. She grew up in a farm family and as a young single woman she taught school. My grandfather was the older brother of one of her students. After they married they lived in a small town and had a coal business. After my aunt and mother left home for college, my grandparents bought a farm.
While they had the farm I visited – just me – for a week in the summer. Often I was there during blackberry season and my grandmother would tie a lard pail to a strip of sheet that I put over my head and across my body diagonally and off we would go! At the start of each season she would give me the same piece of advice, “Roll that berry off with your thumb into your hand. If you have to pull or tug, it isn’t ripe yet.”
I still hear your kind, patient, musical voice admonishing me. What she told me is true and it makes me think of ripeness, timing, and how good things are worth the wait.