Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

How the 'Walking' Raspberries Finally Came Home

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

How the 'Walking' Raspberries Finally Came Home

Article excerpt

Every summer that we lived in Pennsylvania, our neighbor's red raspberries tested out wills. The canes grew taller and sturdier, the berries fatter and juicer and more abundant. Then one year the canes were almost within arm's reach. They waved tantalizingly close. So close that an evening breeze could lift them just across the split-rail fence.

Those were the years we lived in the almost-forgotten village of Gravity, "at the top of the Poconos," some said. Miles of stone fences marked off dairy farms from murky wetlands and deep hardwood forests where deer and black bears, wild turkeys and porcupines roamed at will.

One summer Sunday, my husband, Duane, and I sat on the porch of our old gray farmhouse drinking ice water, feet propped up on the white rail. Between hospitable nods to the valley folks who slowly rounded the corner of Gravity Hill in their RVs trying to escape the heat, we eyeballed Fred's red raspberry bushes on the other side of the fence.

Fred and Gail lived in New York. They had owned the Pennsylvania house for more than 20 years and came on weekends and holidays to vacation with family and friends. They were the first to welcome us to the village, and we noticed that they didn't seem to like raspberries; they almost never picked them. The birds gobbled them up while we hung over the fence with our tongues lolling.

Duane envisioned pies and cobblers and ice cream smothered in fat red berries. I dreamed of jars and jars of jam - jam on toast, on English muffins, on pancakes, and on waffles. They teased us with their bright red color and their fragrant sweetness. Alas, they were not on our property, so we let the birds have their way and made sure our cars weren't parked in the driveway too long.

Two or three weeks had gone by when I arrived home at the end of the day and found Duane sitting on the porch.

"The berries are ripe," he said.

"I know. They're huge. Great for jam."

"Wonder if Fred's coming this weekend."

"Well, they were here last weekend. Didn't hear him say he would be." I went inside and read the mail. A few days went by, then the weekend. No Fred. The berries grew close to the fence near the garage, and I passed them going and coming. …

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