Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Strawberry Jam

Do you know any super heroes? I do!  He lives in a little town called Blueberry Patch, way down in Blueberry County in the state of South Carolina and here's a story about how he saved the day!

Our superhero lived at the end of Blueberry Lane in a nice little house with his mom and dad and his little dog Odie.  His name was Erik and he and Odie did everything together.  They played catch and hide-and-seek and took walks in the park.  Their favorite game though, was Superhero and this is how they played it. 

Erik would dress up in his superhero cape and goggles.  Then he would clip his superhero stuff to his belt, usually his X-ray glasses, his night vision binoculars and his secret decoder ring.  Sometimes he took his sword too.  He and Odie would look for bad guys and when he found them, he’d make sure they couldn’t do any more bad stuff.  I’m not sure how he did it, I just know he did because there weren’t any bad guys in Blueberry Patch. 

Now, Blueberry County was known for growing the biggest bluest blueberries in the whole state.
The people who lived in Blueberry Patch were the crazy about blueberries! They made up all kinds of blueberry recipes and people came from all over the state to eat wonderful blueberry muffins and blueberry pancakes.  They even had blueberry milkshakes!

Every summer the people dressed up like blueberries and had a parade to celebrate the blueberry harvest.  They paraded up and down the streets singing songs with the marching band.  They went from Main Street to Blueberry Lane.
Erik would get dressed up like a blueberry with the rest of the kids in Blueberry Patch and join the parade.   It was Erik’s favorite time of year (except for Christmas, of course!).

But one summer, something odd happened. Something that had never happened for as long as even Erik’s old GiGi could remember.  The blueberries started disappearing!  One by one, bush by bush, acre by acre the blueberries were just gone.  
There wasn’t a bear eating them.  There weren’t birds eating them.  There was plenty of water for them and the sun was shining brightly every day.  Where were they going?

The people of Blueberry Patch were puzzled because there didn’t seem to be a reason for the blueberries to disappear, so the mayor posted a proclamation on the door of the Blueberry Patch Town Hall asking for anyone with information about the disappearing blueberries to please help!
“I bet we can solve this problem!” said Erik said to Odie.  Odie nodded in agreement.  “But where should we start?”

So this is where our superhero put on his thinking cap.  He sat down in his front yard and thought and thought.  The he jumped up and turned to Odie.
"I know!” he exclaimed.  “I have a plan, Odie.  Lets go!”

Erik ran into the house to ask his mom if he could go down to the blueberry field.  His mom said ok, but to be home in time for supper.  She was making blueberry sushi, Erik’s favorite.

Erik and Odie ran to the blueberry field and sat down behind one of the blueberry bushes.  They had decided to stake out the field to see what was happening to the blueberries. 

Well, they didn’t have long to wait because pretty soon, they saw a group of raggedy hungry looking boys and girls come out of the woods.  They began to eat the blueberries right off the bushes! 

“What are you doing?!” Erik yelled to them. 

The boys and girls jumped back, afraid of Erik, who was dressed in his superhero stuff.  I guess he looked pretty scary, because the children started to run away. 

“Wait, don’t be afraid.” called Erik and the children stopped running and turned around.

The biggest girl said to Erik “We’re from Strawberry Town in Strawberry County.  All of our strawberries dried up because we don’t have any water to water them.  We’re hungry.”  And the littlest boy began to cry.

“Please don’t cry.  My name is Erik and this is my dog Odie.  Maybe we can help you get your strawberries back!”

So he and the kids walked back to Strawberry Town and the kids showed Erik the strawberry patch that was all dried up.  “What can we do?” they cried.

“This calls for my super powers!” Erik told them.  He got out his binoculars and looked around and around the field for clues.  He saw that the river that ran through the field had dried up. Then he put on his X-ray goggles and looked past the river and through the trees.  Suddenly, he knew what had happened. 

“Beavers!” he exclaimed.  “Mr. and Mrs. Beaver have built a dam across the river so they can build a house for their babies.  When they made the dam, the river stopped watering the fields so the strawberries dried up.  Lets go talk to them!”

They all ran to the beaver dam and called to Mr. and Mrs. Beaver to please come out and talk.  Soon Mr. Beaver peeked his head out of the beaver house and “What do you want? You’re making too much noise!”

Erik talked to Mr. Beaver quietly and told him what had happened.  Mr. Beaver was very sad that he’d caused such a problem.  Erik suggested that Mr. and Mrs. Beaver build a new dam a little further down the river so that the strawberries could get enough water.  "And besides", he said, "there is a beautiful view of Blueberry County there!"

So the beavers built a new dam, the strawberries got enough water, and the children of Strawberry Town had plenty to eat.
Once the blueberries started to grow back, the people of Blueberry Patch were back to their old happy ways, making everything blueberry.

And the best part was that Erik got home in time for dinner.  They were having his favorite – do you remember what it was?

The End

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Summer 1966

It was the summer between 7th and 8th grade.  I’d had a wonderful summer with a boy that I was crazy about.  We’d spend days together swimming and hiking and hanging with our friends.  We had a great group of friends then.  The girls were cute and shy and the boys were funny and tried to make the girls giggle.
Every night before the street lights came on, he’d ride me home on the handle bars of his bike and we’d give each other tentative little kisses good bye.  You know, the sweet kind where you touch the other person’s lips just enough to feel their softness.
Sometimes we’d all tell our parents we were sleeping over at a friend’s house, then we’d all get together at this one kid’s farm and build a fire in the field.  Someone would bring hot dogs and we’d sit out all night talking and telling stories.  Some of the kids would pair off and slip away into the shadows, but it was all pretty innocent as I remember.
One night towards the end of the summer, the boy and I were lying in my backyard just looking at the stars.  It was cool and dark and even though my mom and dad were just inside, it felt like there was no one around for miles.  We started talking about stars and moons and life on other planets and somehow the conversation turned to God.  It was then that I made the most perfect discovery and in trying to share it, I stumbled over the words, not able to voice my wonder at what I had just seen and felt. 
I was finally able to get out “God is everywhere.  He is in everything.  God is in every blade of grass…”
The boy didn’t say anything for a moment and then suddenly, he was smiling at me.  “Cool” he said.  “Cool”.  Then he kissed me so softly and lay back down in the grass.
Several years later, he started going with my best friend and that was a tough blow. I pretty much dropped out of our group and went my own way, not able to stand seeing them together. We drifted apart and eventually didn’t even speak. But our senior year in high school he wrote in my yearbook, “Just remember, God is in every blade of grass.”  It made me smile.  “Cool” I said.  “Cool.”