I’m only three-fourth done with my strawberry pies, and about one-fourth done with the bread I decided to make at the last possible minute. So I thought of posting only my title, leaving you to come to your own conclusions. But I had to prove my point.
Remember a few weeks ago, I wrote about hospitality and I said that whenever I venture out into the country stores, people dissect my ancestry? Just in case you didn’t believe me, let me tell you about my morning. In the interest of sensitivity, I’ll change a few details, but I assure you I’m not making anything up.
With perfect confidence, I set out this morning to find strawberries. I had gotten some from Bullard’s in Elkhart previously, but they got theirs from Michigan and I was hoping to find home-picked ones. I decided to head out to the country to an Old Order Mennonite stand where I felt sure I could buy strawberries picked that morning from a patch a few hundred feet from the stand. It was nearing 80 degrees, so speed was of the essence, and I think I completely forgot my hospitality goals. I was planning to buy a flat, and throw the extra ones in the freezer to hone my domestic skills.
The first place I stopped had strawberries.
“Can I buy a flat?” I asked.
“What’s a flat?” the man asked me.
After determining that they were only selling by the quart, I selected a few boxes.
“We might get some more in around 1:00,” the man said, dashing my theory about the patch close by.
“Who do you get to grow them?” I asked.
“Michigan,” said the lady, smiling. “Now, do you think I could guess where you belong?”
Side note: what’s with Michigan? Does not plowing snow off the roads in the winter somehow lead to a better strawberry crop?
To the lady, I said–pleasantly, I believe–“You can try!”
“Would you be Virginia Hoover’s daughter?”
“I’ve heard that a lot,” I said, “but she’s my aunt. My mom passed away.”
“Oh, you must be Katrina,” she said. “I was your mom’s age.”
“Yes, I am,” I said.
I pulled out my card, and moved it toward the credit card machine. I was deflated about the strawberries heritage, but not in despair. They looked decent.
“Oh I’m sorry, we can’t take cards today,” the lady said, pointing to a hand lettered sign.
Ooops. I had run out of the house without anything other than plastic.
At the second shop, I asked, “Do you have strawberries?”
“By the quart,” the man said. “They’re there in the cooler.”
I should have turned and walked away at the phrase “in the cooler”. Fresh strawberries don’t need to be in a cooler. I peered at them, and sure enough, they were pitted with dents and soft spots. But what? I couldn’t think of any other location and I had to have some. I picked a few out and took them to the counter.
“You can take a card, right?” I asked.
“Not today,” he said. “The machine is down.”
“Okay, that’s fine,” I said, ready to walk away again. The berries were really lacking anyway. I didn’t even ask where they were from.
“You can send a check,” he said. “Just give me your name and address.”
I agreed. I did need berries.
“Now when you say ‘Lee,'” the man said, “my wife went to school with a Lee.”
I had completely failed to account for the 100% increase I would have in family heritage questions now that I’m married.
I answered pleasantly–I think I did–but there were other customers waiting on the man so I didn’t want to chat too long for their sake, not to mention mine.
“Ah, yes, he’s my husband’s brother,” I said.
“I see!” he said triumphantly.
I picked up my strawberries and began to back away from the counter.
“Thank you very much!”
“And let’s see, didn’t someone in your family marry a girl from Fort Wayne?”
“Oh yes, that’s my nephew,” I said.
By now, the other customers had been standing there waiting for what seemed like a long time.
Still, he leaned past the cash register to give me a parting piece of genealogy, with deep satisfaction.
“Those girls are nieces to my sister!”
I rest my case.
My pies and bread are waiting. Perhaps, too, I’ve proved my original point that I need to be reminded to slow down, to not be in such a hurry, maybe to buy strawberries before the day you want to make pie so you have more time? I don’t know. It is Father’s Day, after all, so perhaps it’s a good weekend to talk genealogy.
Happy Saturday 😊
P.S. I did find a few more berries at Sweet Corn Charlie, which were better, but I still ended up pitching quite a few. Where does a person find them, I wonder?
Maybe we have to move to Michigan.