Thrills and spills on Blueberry Hill…

The Sixties were an idyllic time when you were more apt than not to sit down to family dinner spread over a red-and- white checkered tablecloth, feasting on a sumptuous repast of Southern fried chicken, corn on the cob, and mashed potatoes smothered in giblet gravy, followed by Mom’s homemade dessert.

Perchance, blueberry pie.

Our Americana red, white, and blue way of life couldn’t have foreseen what was barreling down the two-lanes at breakneck speed: microwaveable meals, SPF lotions, recycling, blood borne pathogens, click-it or ticket, smoking ordinances, merlot-to-go, sports on steroids, voyeuristic reality shows, bottled water for sale, precautionary latex gloves, the demise of Chrysler and GM. And, the beat goes on.

One of my favorite nostalgic memories is that of finding my thrill on Blueberry Hill across the street from my childhood home. Before my sparsely settled neighborhood developed into a suburb, the vast woodland across the way beckoned for blueberry picking.

My mother and I often set out for the woods with our empty buckets in gleeful anticipation of the blueberry pies she would bake when we returned.

Twigs snapped and leaves rustled under our PF Flyers, one of the largest sneaker brands in Sixties America. Unmindful of sunburn, mosquito bites, bee stings, poison ivy, or Lyme disease carrying deer ticks hitching a ride on our bare skin, we ventured up an incline in the woods where bushes hunkered for the picking.

Those blueberry pies had to be the tastiest with just the right amount of sweetness, flaky crust, and juiciness in every bite with no afterthoughts of processed sugar or saturated fats.

Most good things come to an end as did our treks on Blueberry Hill when construction of the house across the street trampled and tampered with Mother Nature’s bounty, except our hill which was no longer a public domain. 

Hurrah for the RED, WHITE, and BLUE: berries along with so many other traditions and pastimes Americans hold dear that do not entail an out-of-pocket expense: picnics, parks, parades, and puttering.

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