Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Pickin' and Grinnin'

My wife and kids and I arose at 06:00 and went with my mom to go pick blueberries again this morning. Mom got a couple of quarts, and my wife and I picked enough to bulge out seven 1-quart storage bags well beyond their normal capacity, plus a pint or so that we ate fresh right away.

My girls picked about a quart of blackberries, too. We froze those, putting them on a pan single-layer and freezing them before bagging them for storage.

We are now set for some pies, cobblers, crisps, muffins, and pancakes, on the blueberry front. Sadly, that constitutes barely a taste, on the blackberry front. I grew up eating blackberry pies during summertime, and without black, I'm blue.

We were pretty hot from our jaunt through the patch in the sun, and were mighty glad that we had been waiting when they opened at 08:00. It was, for the second year in a row, the weekend that the berry farm held a fundraiser for the local VFD, and they had a bounce house, hamburger sale, raffle, and other stuff available to spend your money on for the VFD.

After about an hour, Mom was getting tired and needed a place to sit, and there was a booth to pay a buck and get 4 baseball throws at a strike zone net set about 50 feet from the table. I told Mom to sit in a comfy camp chair there, ostensibly to watch me throw. They had an older radar unit set on a folding table, and a bored guy with a clipboard took down your name and fastest throw. I knew mine wouldn't be much-- I had badly stressed my rotator cuff last winter on a slip on the ice on a slick bridge. But what the heck? A buck ain't much. My first throw was inside, but I was gratified that my last three throws, thrown as hard as I could get 'em, were well inside the strike zone. Yeah, yeah, I know-- it wasn't full regulation distance. But gimme a break-- I never played the game. I was also gratified that my top throw was the fastest on the clip board.

I returned to picking, and chatted with a guy and his son who were nearby. He asked me about the pitching thing. He nodded in agreement when I laughed that it's harder than one might think to get the speed over 50 mph. When our conversation drifted to college days, and the maroon-wearing Aggie found out that I had attended UT Austin for a year, I knew that he would be going to the pitching booth before long*.

When I checked by the booth an hour and a half later, I found that he had taken two turns to try to beat the Teasipper... and had failed. It's a sad day when 51mph takes the cupie doll, friends. But it's my cupie doll, so I'll bear it proudly. :)

*I have never understood the fervor with which the Aggies hold up that rivalry.Even stranger, it is oft extended to the friends and family of Texas A&M alumni, against their fellow Texans. People that have never set foot on A&M campus will damn those "'Sips". Meanwhile, most of my friends that attended UT have always sort of viewed A&M as a respectable agricultural and engineering university, with nothing for them to be ashamed of.

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At Sunday, July 06, 2008 3:17:00 PM, Anonymous LabRat said...

I gather t'weren't always so, given the number of Aggie jokes I heard from my father. Then again, his brother went to A&M, so I figure it was less about the school and more about giving him shit.

Barbecuing Beevo was a bit beyond the pale, though.

At Monday, July 07, 2008 3:55:00 PM, Blogger Jay G said...

Dunno 'bout the rivalry, but I will share one cute thing re: berry picking...

Took my family blueberry picking in Maine last summer, and my daughter (4 at the time) informed us that she did not go "berry picking." She told us, in no uncertain terms, that she went "berry eating"...

At Tuesday, July 08, 2008 9:22:00 AM, Blogger HollyB said...

It's the FOOTBALL rivalry, NOT the academic rivalry, DUH! This IS Texas after all.

Don't know if this bit of trivia is true or not, but I was told that the TAMU Corps of Cadets has graduated more medal winners in WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam than the "official" service academies combined.

At Tuesday, July 08, 2008 12:08:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

That seems doubtful, Holly, given that, according to the Corps Of Cadets entry at Wikipedia: "Over 225 Aggies have served as Generals or Flag Officers,[3] while seven former students have been awarded the highest United States military award, the Medal of Honor."

That's a damned proud achievement by a student body, but 7 out of 3,446 people leaves an aweful lot of room for Annapolis, West Point, and Colorado Springs. The Aggie general entry notes that "seven Aggies earned the Medal of Honor in World War II.[185] This total matches Virginia Tech for the most total honorees of any school outside the service academies at West Point and Annapolis."

Although I don't generally think of Wikipedia as a scholarly source, I feel quite certain that Aggies are creating and updating those entries, and am quite certain that they would not underestimate the number of MOH recipients among their alumni.

Football rivalries are okay, and get the boys riled up. But why does the rivalry then also have to leak to other things?

When I was attending UT, the week before the UT / A&M game, some boys from A&M decided that it would be funny to cut down several 200 year old oaks on UT campus, to "get our goats." Vandalism of the first order. I had walked under those trees on campus. At the Hex Rally at the Capital, my friends grabbed me and physcally would not let me enter the melee where I saw a bunch of Cadets kickng the shit out of stupid Longhorn supporter kid that had gotten up on stage, flashing his Hook-Em Horns sign. (I had no intention of fighting, but of dragging his ass out of there-- you've seen those Corp boots, yes?)
That's not an indictment of Aggies, but of the silly extent that the rivalries go to.

At Tuesday, July 08, 2008 12:08:00 PM, Blogger night lightning woman said...

Humph. Yes, I just got two quarts, but I got them in two 45-minute sessions, with only a 5-minute rest in the comfy chair you mentioned. Pitiful picking? maybe, but I want FULL credit for my time. And next year, I'll do better.And it was great. I eavesdropped on a nearby couple. She, with a flat tummy, was discussing possible names for their unborn child. "I hadn't even thought of names," she said. "It's too soon." Daddy-to- be nodded. "We have to decide if we want to go with traditional or family names," he said. Hmm,apparently not the same. But it was sweet to listen to them as the breeze blew over the fields and the meadowlarks sang.

At Wednesday, July 09, 2008 2:25:00 PM, Blogger J.R.Shirley said...

We picked a lot of dewberries growing up. They look like blackberries, but grow closer to the ground, and are less tart. I think we got over 100 quarts one year...


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