It was a sunny, cheerful day in the early spring of 1994 when two young girls, ages 7 and 8, found themselves camping along a creek with their elementary school. Dressed in nothing but their bathing suits, bare feet, and the younger a blue cast on her left arm, the two adventurers set off on a journey without the knowledge of anyone else in the school to realize their one true love: picking blackberries. They journeyed across foot bridges, waded through rivers, ducked under barbed wire fences, and traversed thistle-thick cow pastures to arrive at the mother land: the longest line of blackberry bushes they had ever seen in their lives. They even came prepared with plastic bags to store all the blackberries they were going to pick - and we did pick a whole bunch of them, though more found themselves in our mouths than in our bags.
The years past, and still the Kate and Stephanie blackberry picking team grew stronger and stronger. We fashioned ourselves state-of-the-art blackberry picking tools, wire coat-hangers stretched out with a hook at one end to bring closer the farthest branches. We developed poison oak-proof clothing, long sleeves, gloves, and pants tucked into our socks. We had all the latest blackberry picking technology and all was good in the world. The team toured various places in California for the next 10 years to sample all the varieties the beautiful state had to offer, but lo and behold, when the duo set off to college in San Diego they found themselves without blackberries to pick and they became sad. They entertained themselves with other frivolous things: school, work, playing beach volleyball, and just generally being silly (what they are best known for after from their love for blackberries), but the itch for the blackberry never subsided.
Many years later, in January of 2010, half of the duo departed for Peace Corps Guatemala in the hopes of learning new and interesting things about a different place, culture, and work. Little did she know that three months later she would fulfill her heart’s greatest desire: all the blackberries she could ever want.
That’s right, I can’t walk 100 meters in any direction from my house without running into a blackberry bush. Some of them are in flower, some have green or red fruits, some of them even have immature black fruits, and others are even still in bud. And they really are all over the place. I’ve never seen vines climb so high into trees; it must be some mutant strain of Super Guatemalan Blackberry that we don’t have back in California. I don’t even know what to do with myself I’m so excited for blackberry season. As of now, I probably occupy about 4-8% of my days thinking about what I’m going to in a couple weeks when I will be able to acquire all the blackberries I want. I’m drooling. I’m going to have at least two months of gorging myself on all the blackberries I can fit into my stomach and my bags! So Stephanie, book your plane ticket for next year at this time so the greatest blackberry picking team in history can continue it’s legacy in a whole different country.
In case anyone was wondering, the girl with the cast in the story is me. I’m Kate, I break bones, that’s just what I do.