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.