Friday, July 31, 2009

Beware of that perfect parking place

It was a shady spot in a gravelly lot on a warm day. Nobody else is parked there, what luck! In fact, the whole lot is vacant. We pull in, park, get out, and start walking; Mom forgot her cane, so she hangs onto my arm. She mentions something about these little black blobs on the ground. I am very preoccupied. Looks like leftover asphalt crumbs, I say. You know, it's road construction season in the Midwest, and some of those workers can be pretty sloppy.
We return to the car about 30 minutes later. This time I look down, and I look closely. Oh-oh, those aren't asphalt blobs, they're... berries?
I look up. A-hem. A big tree with red and blackish-purple berries, like big ol' raspberries... The source of our coveted shade. Well, I say, at least no birds have blessed us with droppings on the car.
Now, I look down again. At my feet, at my sandals. At Mom's feet. If we'd been barefoot, it would have looked like we'd been stomping out the grapes of wrath before his judgment seat! (OK, self, settle down, now!)
Back home, we decide to wipe our feet on the grass. Picture: elderly woman, hanging onto daughter as they wipe gunk off their shoes. We look up. Neighbors watch us from their stoop. Almost fall over laughing, wondering what they must think of us.
Later, same neighbors watch as I scrub said shoes and sandals with a brush, Fantastik and water from the hose.
Shoes cleaned up pretty well... then I notice the asphalt driveway, little bits of dark berry from our shoes, waiting for someone to walk all over them and tromp them through the house. More hose, more water.
Neighbors still watching: "Whatever they stepped in must have been good, Ray..."

The berries in the photo above are wild black caps from my yard, much tamer than seedy mulberries mixed with gravel.

Great news: Eddie's Wake publish date, July 31, 2009. Today! Mom says we need to celebrate with ice cream. Chocolate, vanilla. NO berry!

Books soon to come.

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