The First Adventure of Summer

July 23, 2019

So. I had the first adventure of summer this week. Now, before you get too excited or jealous, continue reading…

I went with my dad to our camp in East Texas to help mow the grass. The truth is, my parents are just getting to an age where they need a little help with a few things. Things like mowing grass. On a “zero turn mower,” which is almost riding on a 4-wheeler that is stuck in 2nd gear, so, you know, I’m in.

We got to the camp, we mowed, I got a tad dizzy on the mower, everything was going well. In addition to this mowing expedition, we were also on a mission to pick some fresh blackberries. Here’s where things begin to go downhill a bit…

One thing I should mention here is that where I live, in Southeast Texas, it’s hot. No, I mean, HOT, people, tons of humidity and high temperatures. We finished mowing a little afternoon, I had my sunscreen on, my cap, Deep Woods Off for the plethora of bugs around, borrowed some rubber boots from my dad that were about, oh, 3-4 sizes too big, and changed into jeans – because picking blackberries is not for the faint of heart, which we will get to in a moment.

So Dad and I start down the dirt road, leading out of our camp. Our big plan was to look for the blackberries, enough for Mom to make a cobbler, then stop at this great little mom-and-pop burger place for lunch on the way home. It was a beautiful plan, it really was…

The fatal flaw in our plan was that Dad moved the truck way over to the right side of the road so that we could catch a good glimpse of the places where most of the ripe blackberries were. On this side of the road, there was also a bunch of sand. Very deep sand. And under this deep sand, was a bunch of mud. Yep. And guess what happened next…

If you guessed the truck got stuck in the sand – bingo! You’re absolutely right! So, I immediately come up with a plan…because, you know, I’ve had SO much experience with trucks getting stuck in the sand and mud. I tell Dad that I’m pretty sure I can dig them back wheel out of the sand. Uh-huh. I get down on my hands and knees and start digging.

“Go, ahead and try it,” I yell.

He does. Not only does the wheel still have no traction, but now I’m COVERED in sand and mud from standing too close to the truck. Covered, I tell you. We finally decide to call a wrecker, which we should have done in the first place. So,  I, because I am not above doing 2 really dumb things on the same day, in the same hour, decide,

“Hey, I’ll walk on down to where I can still pick some blackberries while we wait for the wrecker!

So there I go. Now, here’s the part of the story where it really helps if you create a visual picture of this in your mind…and please hold your applause until the end…

I begin walking down the road, toward where I remember most of the ripe blackberries were. It’s about 12:30pm, hottest part of the day, no shade, I’m wearing jeans, and rubber boots that almost come off every time I take a step and I’m covered in dirt. I also had grabbed a bowl from the cabin to put the blackberries in and – wait for it – it’s an old timey type bowl made of METAL. And, guess what I forgot? Gloves. Not only was this a bad idea for holding the metal bowl in the sun, but picking blackberries is risky business.

See, blackberries grow on bushes with these pretty little green leaves…and STICKERS everywhere! Now, I know many of you reading this are saying to yourself,

“I’ve picked fruit before, no big deal.”

No ma’am. Don’t talk to me about picking fruit until you’ve picked blackberries. The stickers aren’t big, either, like thorns on a rose bush. They are tiny, almost invisible, evil, painful little things and YOU CAN’T ESCAPE THEM!

So. Here I am. No gloves, sweating, covered in mud, trying to pick these berries. Of course, the best berries are toward the middle of the bushes, you know, the bigger, juicier-looking ones. I tried to go for those at first… until my hands and arms started bleeding. When the blood actually started coming through the caked-on mud on my hands, I gave up on those. I thought,

“Obviously, I can’t get to those, if I want to keep any skin on my hands, but you 17 berries here on the side of the road, you are mine.”

Here is also where I began talking to myself:

“I wonder if this enough for a cobbler? No, Sherra, if Mom was here, she would totally say no. This is not even enough for a cobblette, let alone a cobbler. Better keep picking. I wonder if Dad is OK? It’s awfully hot. I’m sure he has the truck going for the AC. What if we run out of gas because he’s keeping the truck going? How would we get out then? Wait, I forgot my phone in the truck. What if Dad needs me? What if he has a heart attack or something? Should I go back and check on him? But I’d have to walk all the way back, then back to the berries. I don’t know what to do. Why am I picking blackberries with no gloves? And, for the love of all that is good and holy, WHERE THE HECK IS THE WRECKER???”

I finally decided that surely if Dad had a heart attack, he would fall forward onto the steering wheel, onto the horn, then I would know he needed help. Yes, I’m sure that’s what would happen. Right?

Finally, after about an hour of picking berries, my hands were covered in black mud, red blood and purple blackberry juice, the wrecker came. I waited a few more minutes while he got the truck unstuck, then Dad came to get me. We got the grass mowed, the truck unstuck AND enough blackberries for Mom’s cobbler.

Now, you might be thinking,

“Oh my word, what a terrible day!”

And, you know, it was a little crazy. But here’s the thing: I did it for my parents and I would do ANYTHING for my parents. They are the absolute best parents a girl could ask for! No one knows me any better, encourages me any more, is more proud of me and loves me more unconditionally than my parents. They have been with me through infertility, a divorce, single parenting, remarriage, and so much more. They had a front row seat to both my biggest successes and worst failures and loved me through it all. They introduced me to God, providing a pathway for me to begin my own relationship with Him. Now, it’s time for me to do what they have always done for me. And, I am so happy to do it!

The Bible tells us to honor our father and mother so that it will go well for us and we will enjoy long life. And, that’s a great perk! But, I choose to honor my parents, because of the honor they have always shown me. I just hope that I have been half of the parent they have been to me.

So, we finally made it home. We stopped by a McDonald’s so that I could, you know, wash the layers and layers of yuck off my hands before heading to the little burger stand for our burgers. All and all it was truly an adventure and time with my dad that I will cherish.

And, we’ll enjoy that blackberry cobbler that I sacrificed several pints of blood for tomorrow for Father’s Day.

Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there – thanks and know you are loved!

and above all else love