Monday, July 9, 2012

Nobody leaves without pickin' the blues

I spent most of this past week at my cousin Caroline's place in Pennsylvania. Hey, with temps over 100 in the District, I was glad for the reprieve in the slightly cooler Poconos climate. We did a fair bit of work pulling and cleaning garlic, but mostly I did some writing and enjoyed the company of the fun folks with whom I found myself as we laughed and swam and cooked -- I was there for the 4th of July, after all, and it's practically illegal not to have a barbecue that afternoon. (Less illegal, apparently, than buying PA fireworks as a PA resident. Still trying to figure that one out. But I digress.)

We did take a break from garlic cleaning and swimming on the final morning of my visit, before I was to head to my friend Mitch's wedding in Philadelphia, to go blueberry picking. Caroline had mentioned it during our (garlicky) dinner the night before, and I couldn't shake my sudden desire to eat my body weight in the season's first tart berries. I stuffed my formal wear in the back seat of the car, packed us a picnic, and we were off for the blueberry fields at the crack of... 11am. It was rather steamy by the time we got there, but the berry harvesting gang was not to be deterred.

Soon after we arrived, the foreboding stormclouds rolled in. But I couldn't leave without pickin' the blues! (I can't help but think of that famous scene in Adventures in Babysitting. You know the one: an adorable Elizabeth Shue shuffles across the stage with her young charges at the underground blues club in Chicago in an effort to escape the villains, only to be stopped by a large, stern black man who insists, "Nobody leaves without singin' the blues." So she does.) Well, much cooler pickin' when it's overcast....

Okay, I was the first to dive under cover when it really started raining. Actually, it was under the cover of the hatchback of Caroline's station wagon, where I had fully laid out and taste-tested the picnic by the time the rest of the blueberry crew joined me. Even with my comparatively shortened picking stint, I made off with a solid 4 1/2 pounds of delicious, organically grown berries.

Yum. I think I'll be making some blueberry shortcake tonight.

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