As bad as I feel about our pool disaster, I know that Mr. Bill feels worse. He blames himself for the construction miscalculation and feels that he disappointed both Robby and me. I've tried to assure him that I harbor no ill will and that I'm grateful that he tried. I can tell by looking into his eyes that he feels horrible, and I'm at a loss for words to convey that it's really okay.
fails me, I turn to baked goods. I decided that now, more than
ever, Mr. Bill deserved a special treat and I knew exactly what to make.
He has been hinting for a blackberry pie "just like my Mama made" ever since the berries on the
wild vines between our yards started to ripen.
in the morning before the heat became overly oppressive, I went out
with my berry bucket and picked the vines clean. I managed to scavenge
about a cup of berries, enough for a snack but not nearly enough for a
pie. Thankfully, I knew the perfect place to go where the blackberry
vines are thick and relatively untouched. I grabbed another bucket,
packed up Robby, and headed to the park.
park is flanked on three sides by wild blackberry and raspberry bushes.
Robby and I have been picking berries there since he was an infant and,
now that he is older, I was hopeful that he would pick more berries than
he would squish between his fingers. Between the two of us, I planned
on having the necessary four cups of berries picked within an hour.
past the grocery store on the way to the park I flirted with the idea
of simply buying the berries. Somehow though, that felt like cheating. I
wanted Mr. Bill to have the pie he remembered from his childhood, and
that started with freshly picked, wild grown Virginia blackberries. I
pulled into the park and we set out picking.
suspicions were correct and the berries were plentiful. Robby and I had
no trouble picking two buckets full of ripe, juicy blackberries. If you
include the berries that were consumed by both of us, we probably picked
close to two and a half buckets!
The park was quiet
and, with the exception of a Boot Camp fitness class, we didn't see
anybody. We were topping off both our buckets and our bellies when a
uniformed police officer walked by. Robby immediately said hello and we
began to chat.
He asked me if the berries were sweet
this year, and what I was planning on doing with them. Robby explained
that we are baking a blackberry pie for Mr. Bill because he is sad. He
then proudly showed the officer both buckets heaping with the fragrant
The smile on the Officer's face began to fade
as the tone of the conversation took an unexpected turn. "Ma'am, did you
know that it is illegal to pick berries here?" I'm pretty sure my jaw
dropped, which was probably not a pretty sight considering the
blackberry seeds stuck in my teeth! I nervously admitted that "had I
known it was against the law, I would not have shown you both buckets."
became upset and offered to put all the berries back. The Officer
explained that had received a call from somebody reporting my berry
picking. He stated that he was obligated to come and meet with me, but
that he would allow us to keep our berries and was not going to give me a
ticket. With a wink and a coy smile he said, "The library opens at 10. I
think the berries are sweetest first thing in the morning, definitely
Because our local library sits on the
park grounds, I inferred that somebody from the library called to report
our rogue berry-picking ways. How pathetic that somebody has nothing
better to do than file a complaint against a mother and son
quietly picking wild berries!
Part of me wanted to go to the library to inquire about a blackberry pie recipe, but I thought better of it. I
already had one run-in with the cops, and I didn't want to risk another
because of my sarcasm. Instead, I drove home and baked my contraband
berries into a delicious pie. I'm glad that our lawless berry picking
didn't land us in the slammer because that certainly would not have
relieved Mr. Bill's guilt!