The following story may or may not be true. But most certainly, the names have been changed to protect the innocent.
Blueberries are Mary’s favorite. Not the blueberries themselves; just the idea of piling into the car with all the kids, and heading to that one Amish blueberry patch, where the kids fill their buckets with less blueberries than the ones that fill their mouths. The family picks enough blueberries to scatter on the breakfast table all winter long as the “bubbling blueberry pancakes” are devoured by all the kids.
The price, $.50 a pound was good… but it was a far drive. Sixty miles round trip. “Was the price of the blueberries worth the cost of gas it took to get there?” her friends wondered and honestly asked. Still, it was a tradition. One cloudy morning, Mary’s son wanted to head off to the blueberry patch. “Please, can we go today,” he pleaded consistently.
Mary wasn’t feeling it… but her son was so insistent. “Don’t you want to wait until Dad’s here… he’s our best picker?”
“Come on Mom. We’re out of blueberries.”
If picking blueberries was that important to the kids, the memory was far more important than the silly cost of gas.
The son piled the buckets into the trunk of the car, seat belts were buckled, and off they went. Before they arrived, however, there was one slight little delay. Mary got pulled over by a state trooper. She was sure the man was after that blue sedan that had just sped around her on that country road; but no, he wanted to talk to Mary.
Mary remembered that her purse was in the trunk of the van with the buckets. She opened her glove box to find the registration, and said, “Honey, reach back in the trunk and get my purse for me.”
Mary’s son unbuckled his seat belt, and then stopped…. the state trooper, with the dark glasses, big hat and guns came barreling up to her car window. Mary’s son sat frozen in his seat.
The trooper seemed to have the same effect on Mary, because she began talking exactly like Porky Pig while the officer blasted her with questions about why her registration was expired, why her son wasn’t wearing a seat belt, and did she even know how fast she was going?
She answered as best as she could, but the officer simply said, “You don’t make any sense,” while he wrote her the ticket.
All Mary could think about was that instead of $.50/pound, the blueberries now cost an extra $150. Plus, she thought a lot about how she really didn’t want to go there in the first place today. But, on she went, trembling a bit. Instead of singing “Happy Trails To You,” her kids kept asking, “Who’s going to babysit us when you go to jail?” as they drove down the country roads to the Amish blueberry patch.
The road was closed that led to the blueberry patch, with no detour guiding the correct way to go. Still, Mary figured it all out, and couldn’t help but thinking that the “road closed” sign truly was an “omen” that meant, “Just stay home. “
When she finally did arrive, Mary was shocked to see the familiar rusted gate closed, and the field devoid of cars. The sign revealed it all. Tuesday, today, they were closed.
Mary thought of the gas used to get all the way here, the time, the lack of blueberries in her freezer, and that blasted ticket, and so she did the only thing she could do. She taught her kids how to trespass — into an Amish blueberry patch.
As her kids climbed over the barbed-wire fence, she realized that a better man, her husband, would have done the right thing; he would have calmly turned the car around and tried again tomorrow. “But not me,” Mary thought. “I’m just too weak to do the right thing.”
As almost a reward for her efforts and suffering, the blueberries were some of the biggest they had seen in years. Lots of rain left the blueberries plump and abundant. In less than 45 minutes, they had filled their buckets.
This particular blueberry patch is a self-serve kind. There is a shed that holds the scale to weigh your blueberries. There is also a plastic box, held together with a rubberband, where you leave your money. It’s full of change so that you can make your own change if you need to. To the left of that box, there is a spiral bound notebook with a pen that asks you to record your name, the number of pounds you picked, and amount of money you left.
Mary picked nine pounds. She also noticed on the sign that the price went up from $.50 to $.60/pound.
Mary picks up the pen, and writes her name, and then 9#, and then, $5.40. She opens her purse, and sees that all she has is a $1 and a $20. So, she opens the box to make change, and sees there are only quarters and pennies inside. She digs in her purse some more and finds some quarters and change. Then, she picks up her pen, and changes the 9 to a 3, and leaves $1.80 in the box.
To sum up, in less than one hour, Mary has broken the speed limit, drove with an expired registration, trespassed on private property and stole from the Amish. As she drove home, she had only one thought: maybe she would never see her Mom in heaven someday after all. More importantly, she wondered if she’d ever be able to forget this day on those cold winter mornings when her kids sit at the table eating those blueberry pancakes for breakfast.
Update: Mary went back, with husband, to pick 15 more pounds, and squared everything up with the Amish. She is now paid in full.