A few years after we moved into our humble abode a little sapling sprung up on what we call "the dead side" of the backyard. This side yard is where the former neighbors grew a vegetable garden (somehow), but no grass has ever been planted there. For us, at most, it is where weeds grow. Mostly, it's just dirt. But this little sapling grew and grew. And we liked it. It had courage. It had spunk, to grow over on "the dead side" where nothing else grew. It was nice to have something alive on "the dead side."
Last year the kids ran over to me asking if they could eat the berries that were growing on the tree. "No, no, no!," I said. Don't eat berries off of anything that grows in our yard. They are probably poisonous. Then I happened to see one of the berries. What was that? "Kids! Where did you get those berries?" Instantly I was taken back to my childhood when we used to pick berries at my daddy's house. We picked and picked all day, thinking we would one day make some grand pie, or jam.
The humblest berry of them all. They grow wild all over Oklahoma but nobody ever seems to do anything with them. They aren't particularly tart, or sweet. They have tons of bugs in them. They are small, so it takes a ton to make a pie, and you have to pick the stems off of each one.
We never did get any of our womanly relatives to make anything out of those mulberries we picked as children. We ate whatever bug-infested berries we felt like eating. We made our make-believe mud-berry pies, and that was it.
Fast forward 25 years and now it's my children picking mulberries out of the backyard, from the little sapling (that's not so little anymore) on "the dead side" of the yard. A mulberry tree! In my yard! I knew I liked that little tree.
Taevy and the little ones started picking berries a few weeks ago. Just like me and my cousins so long ago, they were intent that they would make SOMETHING out of those berries. Just like the adults in my family so long ago, I discouraged them. "Oh guys, mulberries aren't good for much. You can eat some. You can play with them. But I don't want to mess with making pies or jam."
Taevy is not me. Taevy is made from a different peice of fabric. Sometimes I think it's so wonderful that she doesn't carry my genes. It makes it that much more likely that she will teach me. Taevy was not discouraged. "Mom, can I make mulberry pie if *I* take charge and if *I* clean up the mess?" Well, it's hard for me to argue with that. I agreed. To be honest, I expected that she would play around with the idea and end up making some nice mid-berry pies, just like I had done as a child.
I watched from a distance as Taevy and her helpers continued with their picking. Then I watched as they diligently picked the tiny stems from hundreds of berries. Then they drowned all those bugs by soaking the berries in water. Then the big day came. I had to glue myself in my chair as Taevy covered herself in flour, asked me what "lard" was, and made pie crust from scratch. Things started pre-heating. Bubbling occurred. And before you knew it....we had a pie! Or, I should say, SHE had a pie!
Truly, it was a proud moment. My daughter accomplished a feat that I think not many accomplish at eleven. It's not only that she made Mulberry Pie from scratch. It's not only that her pie crust tasted better than her grandmother's. It's that she had the guts and perseverance not to give up when an adult told her it wasn't worth pursuing. She had a goal, and she went for it.
Dearest Taevy, you remind your mother that I should follow my heart even in the face of adversity. Thank you.