For berries…

I have a surprise for you, Chole.

My Aunt Judy, my godmother, always had a surprise for me. Always a lovely little indulgence.

Let’s go out into the garden.

I reached for my shoes and noticed that she had left hers behind.

Look over there, past the hydrangeas…

The grass was silky and sleek beneath my feet as I skipped along.

look beneath the elm tree…

With my chubby hand, I shielded my eyes from the harsh noon sun.

just there, against the white fence.

There, in the cool shade grew hidden treasure…brambly, plump wild raspberries.

Pull those branches apart, that’s where the sweetest ones hide. Choose a crimson one….the others are still bitter.

We had no money for berries. Our fruit bowl held Macintosh apples, navel oranges, bunches of bananas.

Give it a gentle pull, it will come off easily if it’s ready.

We often had no money. For doctors. For books. For rainboots.

Be careful, those thorns are like tiny fishhooks.

I swiped away stray strands of my sun-bleached hair that were blocking my view.

Got it? Okay, now taste it…

I had seen raspberries before, I’d tasted raspberry flavored Kool-Aid before, but this was different…so much better.

Have another…

We had no money. The grown-up apologies in my mother’s hazel eyes told me so.

May I have one?

In the shade of the elm, we ate our entire bucketful.

I couldn’t wait to share these with you…

There, with juice-stained hands, fingernail beds, and lips, those wild raspberries made me feel rich.


This post is in response to the this week’s RemembeRED

prompt that asked us to write about our favorite fresh fruit or vegetable.





  1. Galit Breen

    This was…perfect. XO

  2. Yuliya

    Each word, was absolutely delicious. I loved this.

  3. bywordofmouth

    The ability you have to take us wherever your mind and your heart are is a true gift.
    As always, breathtakingly beautiful – and sweet.

  4. transplantedx3

    Perfect! So simple, yet so very heartfelt. I can see you sitting there, sharing the bucket of raspberries. What a good memory, thank you for sharing such a sweet one! My favorite line "There, in the cool shade grew hidden treasure…brambly, plump wild raspberries." I love the imagery. Well done.

  5. Mommy Nani Booboo

    Ahhhh… berries are the rich man's fruit.
    Now I want some!

  6. tsonoda148

    Yummy. Sounds delicious. Takes me back to picking huckleberries when I was a kid. So delicious, and didn't cost a cent.

  7. andygirl

    mmmm such a lovely picture you painted! I was right there, staining my fingers and tasting the warmth of the sun-warmed berries. my grandma had a berry tree, which I think was loganberry but my memory is fuzzy. I remember picking the berries when still barely green and loving how tart they were.

  8. Mmmm….the raspberries, the writing, the piece. Simply beautiful. Nothing so sweet as fruit and veggies hand picked at their peak, especially when they are an out of the ordinary treat. :>

  9. Tracie

    So beautiful. So perfect. My mouth is watering.

    It brought back memories of picking blackberries at the edge of the woods behind my house. I waited all year for blackberry season.

  10. Cheryl @ Mommypants

    This makes me so sad, Nichole, the thought of the five year-old you already knowing how much of a treat it really was, already knowing how poor you were. I am so glad you had that moment with your aunt, that hopeful moment that you really could have some seemingly out-of-reach sweetness.

    Much love to you, my friend.

  11. Jessica

    Berries fresh from the vine in the summer are delicious. It is sad that at such a young age you knew about money problems but at least you were able to enjoy those berries with your godmother.

  12. Ashley

    I loved how you told this. Gently powerful. I love the transition from story-telling to speaking in each line. Fantastic!

  13. Klz

    It sounds like aunt Judy made you very rich indeed

  14. Peggy

    I hope Judy reads this. Very nice.

  15. @amyplus1x3

    This is so sweet and lovely.

  16. Simple and deliciously sweet, just like a perfectly ripe raspberry. One day, I will walk by a bookshelf in a bookstore, and your story will fill those shelves, and I will feel so very honored to have read these little bits.

  17. Sonora

    This gave me goosebumps. I loved the part at the end about the berries making you feel rich. Perfect description, touching post!

  18. YOu write so well…you always transport me to the middle of your story. And I love it!!!

  19. ksluiter

    My aunt had raspberries growing in her yard. It was my first taste of them since my mom wouldn't buy them…too pricey. I love the rich feeling they gave you. Lovely.

  20. Jennifer Dillon

    This made me choke up. I was so glad that you got to have such a wonderful treat and so sad that at such a young age you could already see, "We had no money. The grown-up apologies in my mother’s hazel eyes told me so." It really upsets me how much fresh food remains so deeply a class issue in our country and though you necessarily mean it that way, this piece made that anger flare in me.

  21. CDG

    I also remember what a treat fresh berries were, so dear, even in the brief weeks when they were locally available. I think I love your aunt Judy a lot.

  22. My nana and granddaddy had raspberries growing behind their house. My sister and I would pick handfuls and eat them without washing (gasp.) I hadn't thought about that memory in years.

    Rich, indeed.

  23. Shortly after graduating from college, I lived in Berkeley, and took BART to the city. On my walk to the BART station, I would pass wild blackberries growing over a neighbors fence. Those stolen berries were more delicious than any I've tasted since. The simple pleasures are surely the richest.

  24. Mad Woman

    Oh happy sighs. I too am in love with Aunt Judy and with you as well. You've taken me back to the blackberry picking of my youth. Oh for the heat of summer to bring back the berries!

  25. TheJackB

    Expressed so beautifully…

  26. Perfectly ripe berries found growing wild always seem to me royal fare. Lovely.

  27. My grandma had raspberries planted and then transplanted by birds all over her yard. I can remember sitting in her garden picking away at them.
    Love your descriptions. Simple and beautiful ;)

  28. Oh how perfect.
    I love raspberries.

  29. lydia

    This was really beautiful, as your posts tend to be. I loved the thought of you sitting in a garden eating a bucket of berries and feeling rich inside your little self. It made me sigh with contentment.
    I also think that sometimes not having makes you appreciate things when you do get them that much more.

  30. Beautiful, rich post. The imagery and emotion are stunning as always. Thank you for this journey from your memory. It was a lovely ride.

  31. Tonya

    Delicious. WHat a lovely memory. Your words are rich and beautiful.

  32. Law Momma

    Just gorgeous. So rich and decadent and peppered with such real emotion. Love it!

  33. erin margolin

    I suck. Have never taken my kids berry picking. This was achingly beautiful. Loved the imagery at the end w/ the stained fingers, etc…

  34. Oh, now that is love…
    Came by from TRDC…

  35. tracy

    So beautiful. I love how you wrote this very touching post. xo

  36. 30ish Mama

    What a sweet memory, and so beautifully told!

  37. Beautiful. The story, the writing, the raspberries.

  38. Elaine

    I'm so happy that she shared them with you and that they tasted so sweet. This was beautiful in so many ways…

  39. Mandyland

    This was so beautifully written. I loved the past/present conversation/rememberance. And I loved that she shared the raspberries barefoot.

  40. sugarbowlmix

    I love the way you wove the moment of your Aunt sharing berry picking with you with your situation at the time so that the experience of the berries became so meaningful. Very poignant. You're a gifted writer!

  41. @sharmstro

    ahh yes… So delicious.

  42. You are so good! This was a amazing!

  43. Ash

    I love, LOVE, the reference to raspberry Kool-Aid. Love it. So glad you were able to taste the real thing fresh off the vine. Rich, indeed.

  44. ~*Jess*~


  45. Beautiful! Took me right there with you picking those raspberries. What a great memory.

  46. Such a beautiful thing your aunt shared with you.
    You brought it to life, as always, so well.

  47. Sherri

    This is so wonderful on so many levels, Nichole. I can see you there in the garden, I can feel the feelings of wanting things you didn't have. And all of these childhood memories of yours, when woven together with you beautiful words, are just breath-taking.

  48. This is beautiful. You brought a wave of love to my heart, thanks so much for sharing. I love this post so much.

  49. usnessie

    I love the way you kept the format simple, with one line from the godmother, then one line from the author. It read like a poem, with a nice rhythm.

  50. JDaniel4's Mom

    There is something wonderful about getting berries right off the vine or plant. We used to find wild strawberries on my grandparents farm when I was little.

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