Laurie was the grumpiest man on the street; in fact he was possibly the grumpiest man in the town. He grew strawberries in his garden, and one thing was certain: none of the sweetness of strawberries had rubbed off on him.
He would sell strawberries at his gate in little plastic containers. There was an honesty box. Some people thought he under-charged but he said if the price was too low then people were welcome to go to the supermarket and purchase the more expensive, sourer, inferior strawberries. The supermarket manager resented that Laurie had labelled his strawberries as inferior. Laurie was undercutting business.
Further down the road, in fact on a nearby but different street, lived Velda. She would buy quite a few of Laurie’s strawberries apparently to make jam. She didn’t make much of a profit with the jam she said but it was an interest. It fills in a rainy day – as she was wont to say.
Laurie didn’t like Velda making jam with his strawberries. Adding sugar to his carefully grown fruit was a sacrilege. One day he saw Velda coming with a pram (she always brought an old pram to load it up and push the strawberries to her house). He rushed out to his gate and informed Velda that he didn’t like her buying so many of his strawberries. “There are other people in the world that might enjoy some.”
“Oh,” said Velda, “I was just coming to tell you that I heard several of the fruit in your garden have been injected with poison. I wouldn’t touch a single strawberry for the rest of the year if I were you.”
And Velda sauntered off to the supermarket where she triumphantly announced to her husband, the Manager: “Mission accomplished”.
And here in heaven at the Eternal Banquet
there’s strawberries and cream.
I’m not fond of strawberries, I once said.
Everyone was shocked. They like strawberries.
Just eat the whipped cream, says one, rather than insult the Cook.
You’d think with all the resources up here and stuff like that
they could provide more variety.
But no! When Adam and Eve arrived they said everyone would want
strawberries and cream. Certainly nothing with apples.
Strawberries three times a day. Full stop. Period. Permanently.
Then Queen Elizabeth the First of England
(she’s got really fat – I mean really really fat)
says that if I want variety I should go to the other place.
Hell, I say, what do they eat down there?
Raw quince and crab apples.
All day and every day with no whipped cream.
They’re all skinny as rakes.
For a special occasion they get an uncooked cooking apple.
Well, I say, it sounds like that other place sucks.
So I get stuck into my strawberries and cream.
I’ve been here two hundred and eleven years now
and have never got used to the diet.
Once in a blue moon, for a special occasion,
we have a big feast;
like the other day when Abraham and Sarah celebrated
their four thousandth year since getting pregnant.
We all got a dry pink wafer cookie
stuck in the strawberry concoction.
Honestly, I crave a hotdog.
I wouldn’t mind if it came poked into the whipped cream.
The other day some visitors popped over from
the Conservative Sector for a social visit.
They took one look and said, Bloody hell!
Is that all you eat? You need to sack the Cook.
So we’re having a meeting about it, all fifteen billion of us.
The angel in charge said a decision has to have a 100% consensus
before any changes can be made around here.
That’s impossible, especially with some of the politicians in our Sector.
I’m not putting much hope on our chances of firing the Cook.
Besides, God loves to personally prepare the strawberries for us Liberals.
It’s the reward we get for being always right.
To hear the poem read aloud click HERE.
Marcia was an expert at wild berries. Not just blackberries, and strawberries and raspberries, but berries with a difference; elderberries and huckleberries and chokeberries and saskatoon berries and muscadine berries. The list was endless. There were all sorts of wild berries that people ignored that were edible. Not all were harmless of course. Some were rather deadly, such as holly berries and pokeweed and ivy and yew tree berries.
Gathering wild blackberries was how Marcia met her husband, Michael. A group of youths had gone out blackberrying one summer, and Marcia and Michael got lost. They eventually found their way back, but it was the beginning of a romance. Two years later they married.
Michael loved the way that Marcia knew all the wild things to eat (and not to eat) and the recipes to use.
“If a famine strikes the land,” he used to say, “we’ll be the only couple to survive.”
But as the marriage wore on Michael became domineering and abusive. Marcia was at the end of her tether.
“Why don’t you make one of those wild berry pies you used to make?” said Michael. “Instead of moping around doing sweet nothing, you lazy cow.”