berry-stained

Alice had fallen asleep in the back seat. When she woke up, it was lunch time, and we were in front of a fruit stand in Lockeford.

And – I think I might be creating the impression of a more pastoral babyhood than she really has – we stopped to pick strawberries.

The owner handed us a bucket and directed us to a corner of his farm where the berries were very ripe.

Alice picked, but she did not gather. She ate everything she put her hands on. A dozen strawberries, maybe. I’m not even kidding. All we could do was swat away the odd stem or dirt clod before it got to her mouth.

She walked out of the mud with juice dripping from her chin and off her fingers. I cleaned her hands with diaper wipes, but there was nothing to do about the red rings around her collar and at the edges of both sleeves, or about the bright pink splotch on her white sock.

She was so happy.

(We are not from here, but Alice is. We might feel like transplants or visitors, but this is her only first home. Where Alice is from, when it is May, you can’t walk very far without running into a fruit stand full of strawberries.)

Rule of thumb: A bucket of strawberries is more strawberries than you probably thought it would be. We had french toast with strawberries for breakfast, goat cheese and strawberry salad for dinner, and I just took a strawberry and rhubarb pie out of the oven.

There still are two baskets left.

(The answer, of course, is share.)

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