|Banks County Opinions...||
July 18, 2001
By Rochelle Beckstine
The Banks County News
July 18, 2001
Love conquers hate in berry patch
Never say hate, my mother always said, though I was sure that I truly hated lima beans and my little brother.
Years later I can say I love my little brother and lima beans are OK, but there are a few things I most definitely could live without.
My hate list:
#1: Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac.
Does it have a good use? If there is one, tell me, please. I've looked for the nasty little plants' redeeming qualities. I can't find them. I step outside and get within five feet of the stuff and I'm done for. A month of shots and calamine and steroids will finally rid me of the resulting rash from my frolic with the out-of-doors. The last time I got it was during my junior year at Agnes Scott and the rash cost me $175 in doctor's visits, hospital visits and prescriptions. There's no one to sue for damages, so the three-leaved abomination can rot.
#2: Mosquitoes and biting flies and chiggers and little red things that bite me and like to land on my baby.
Again, I ask, dear reader, is there a positive purpose for any of them? Surely they're not of God's creation. In a group of people, the durned things will swarm to me, which is good news for everyone else-they have no use for bug spray or OFF candles. I wouldn't mind being the one to push the button that would eradicate them all.
Snakes freak me out. I blame society. I have seen too many movies of jumping, biting snakes that sneak up behind you. Just the thought of a snake gives me an all-over shiver. I don't want them dead or gone (they do lots of good things), but I would like for them to slither clear of me and I'll stay clear of them.
Yet, this weekend I braved my three most hated foes for one great love-blueberries heated by the sun and fresh from the bush.
In 90-degree Georgia heat, I donned black pants, knee-high socks, a long-sleeved shirt and leather boots. I sprayed my body with DEET and trekked to my grandparents' blueberry patch with a bucket. One bush at a time, I waded through knee-high poison oak, picking one ripe, plump berry at a time. I ate all the ones from the tops of the eight-foot bushes. If I had placed them in a bucket they would have been sucked into anonymity and eaten later in a pie or a cobbler by someone who didn't recognize that to get that berry I had to sweat in winter clothes and stand on tip-toes to reach the berry while I imagined I heard a snake slither behind me in the brush. And, with my hands full of berries and branches and buckets, I stood unable to swat at the mosquitoes drinking blood from my face-the only part of my body not covered with DEET. They wouldn't know that I washed in Clorox water afterward on the off-chance poison ivy had snuck past my layers.
But as I stood there and ate those warm berries, I realized that it was worth it. Bugs, itchy rash and potential snake bites were nothing compared to that ripe blue taste.
For the love of a good berry, I would do it again and again.
Rochelle Beckstine is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers.
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