Sojourning Mercies: Lessons from the Blackberry Patch

Welcome back to a fairly new blog series called: “Sojourning Mercies.” This series consists solely of stories… stories of beauty, of hardship overcome, of reconciliation attained… stories of people defiantly singing alleluia at the end of a hard experience. Tonight’s contribution comes from one of the most beautiful women I know, Ann Davis. Ann continues to practice physical therapy in addition to a sustained, faithful life of service dedicated to trying to understand God’s love and extend it through her hands and feet. She has served on the board of the Nashville Rescue Mission for 40 plus years and has sojourned the globe more times than I can count. She is a best friend on mine and just happens to be my grandmother. I hope you’ll enjoy her sweet spirit tonight. If you do, please give her a shout out in the comments section and I’ll make sure her attention is brought to it. 

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As I visited the blackberry patch in my backyard today, I was flooded with memories from my childhood.

Growing up in the 1930’s on an Illinois farm held lots of excitement as well as affording me great memories today. Blackberries usually were ready for picking around the middle of July and the great thing about that was that the county fair was just two weeks away.

In the 1930s, there was not very many opportunities for kids to earn money, especially for non-essentials. The annual county fair was a treat my whole family looked forward to attending. My father provided the $2.00 family ticket for admission but my sister and I were required to earn “our own money” for rides and treats. Our mom always packed a picnic lunch of fried chicken, potato salad, and fresh garden vegetables, but we liked the big snow balls (a paper cone cup of flavored ice with a little tin spoon) the best. There was also a “Big Nick” ice cream bar for .05 cents.

So blackberries were our ticket! My sister and I covered our legs with Dad’s old overhauls and started to the field with our little half-gallon syrup buckets; the sun was hot and sweat poured, scratches and bites covered our arms, but nothing would stop the chance to earn change for the big day. Pay off was .05 cents for the half gallon of blackberries and our mother would accept it even if it was not quite completely full.

Of course there were other chores like cutting the thistles in the pasture for .10 cents and by fair time, we usually had over 2.00!

Now as a grandmother, I return to the blackberry patch behind my home and the lessons from childhood come rolling back.

1) The joy of having “our own money” to spend once a year on treats was like none other. These days, my joy comes with knowing I can share the berries with others as the taste of a good blackberry cobbler never goes away.

2) The persistence to stay on task as a child was the same as today. The passing thought of “why am I doing this?” But persistence has its rewards… if I can succeed at this, I can take on bigger tasks in the future.

3) One thing different about the berries and the money earned was that once we picked the berries, they were not ours any longer. They were to be enjoyed by others and maybe that thought was even better than having our own money.

If you have a story you would be willing to share, I would venture to guess that we could benefit from it. Please contact me via the “contact tab” above.

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6 thoughts on “Sojourning Mercies: Lessons from the Blackberry Patch

  1. Love this story of your grandmother! Precious seeing the faithfulness of women and their influence in our lives.

  2. As the other sister, Fannie. She forgot to mention that she would holler SNAKE!!!!, which I hated, therefore dropping my syrup bucket, spilling my blackberries, which she would then quickly pick up for HER bucket! She has mellowed with age! Oh sweet memories of those days!

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