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Blackberrying, by Jessica Beth Howard


Granny is our leader. Really, she is my great-grandma, but I don't see anything so great about her. She's really kind of weird. She is really wrinkly and her hair is pointy. It seems like it goes any which way she combs it - if she even combs it. She curses just like a man and she doesn't care who hears her. She even says the "F-word" sometimes.

Blackberries, by Richard Boyer
by Richard Boyer

Anyway, Granny is our leader. She leads us grandkids down the path behind her house where the blackberry patches are and gives us Fischer's buckets to put them in. Granny takes us down to the patches every summer to pick blackberries for her jam and I love it. I love to pick blackberries, but I eat more than I pick.

"Kick your shoes off, kids!" Granny never puts any on, if she can help it. Today she has her toenails painted red and they look like tiny tomatoes in the tall grass. None of us ever take our shoes off. I'm afraid of ants and the rocks hurt my feet. Granny doesn't let it bother her if we don't take them off. She's always in a good mood, but every time we go down to the blackberries she's really happy. She sings and dances around the patches like she's Momma's age again.

I run up to the berry bushes as soon as I see them. I'm always sure to watch out for June bugs because I'm afraid of them. I always make sure not to pick the berries that have been hurt. Granny can't use those. I put a couple of handfuls into the bucket before I start eating them. The blackberries seem like treasures to me, and I'm really careful with them.

"Be careful," Granny whispers, walking up behind me. "Don't hold 'em too tight, they'll stain your hands." Granny squeezes my shoulder and walks on up the path singing, "Jimmy Crack Corn and I Don't Care," as loud as she can. I look down at the berries in my hand and I close my hand around them. I look at Granny dancing with my cousin John and I hold the berries tighter. I hold them so tight that they burst in my hand and I feel the juice dripping through my fingers. I kick my shoes off and start dancing between the bushes.


BIO: My name is Jessica Beth Howard. I hail from West Liberty, KY. I am an undergraduate student at Eastern Kentucky University with plans to graduate in August. I am an English/Creative Writing major, with minors in Journalism and Women's Studies.


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