Blackberry Breath

June 29, 2015

I may the only person who runs a tab . . . on blackberries. Farmer Orville and I set up a system where I can sate myself without money. This may be a bad thing.

I picked a pound of berries this afternoon, enjoying rare sunshine, popping plump samples, petting Reba the dog, grooving on the baby birds nesting in the berry patch, swatting mosquitoes. Berries hang seven feet in the air where only I can pick them.

Oh, I’ll floss tonight but right now my teeth spaces are filled with gritty seeds. I pry out some with my tongue—I have excellent tongue skills—but others nestle and rile my gums.

It is a miracle there are berries to pick. There have been two sunny days since June 9. We had four inches of rain last night. Tornadoes danced around us and tore off some roofs and brought down trees. But the berries stand.

The River Road is closed; the Mississippi and Missouri and Illinois rivers are flooding. There is no traffic on Clifton Terrace. My neighbors and I could play dominoes on the pavement and not fear a racing car.

“We are discussin’ gay marriage,” Orville said. Oh boy. He meant he would do a monologue on the subject. I asked whom he thought was gay in the Bible. Nobody. Not even the Apostle Paul? Nope.

Reba and the barn cats had no thoughts on gay issues. They rubbed against me and licked my bare legs—Reba thinks my name is Salt Lick. And they smelled. The rain, the swamp are wondrous things to domestic animals, and they wallow and they carry poison ivy.

“Only thing better than blackberries,” Orville said, “is tomatoes and blackberries.” He doesn’t eat tomatoes, but never mind. I have been known to eat ten tomatoes in a single day.

It had been a stressful day. The Telegraph deadline for all stories for Homestyle Magazine was this afternoon. I have three stories in the next issue. My editor Vicki and I went back and forth about the word “wend.” “Use everyday words,” Vicki wrote. “Wend is an everyday word,” I countered. “I’m wending my way to a nap.”

Where: I wander and wonder and wend my way and watch and willfully get wet and waylay and willy-nilly with wisdom and whim and workmanlike will.

And I have blackberry breath.





About Eugene Jones Baldwin

I am a writer: non-fiction, fiction, journalism (Alton Telegraph), essays (The Genehouse Chronicles) and have a website: I've published a couple dozen short stories and had eleven plays produced. Current projects: "Brother of the Stones" (available on Kindle), a book of short stories; "The Faithful Husband of the Rain, short stories"; "A Black Soldier's Letters Home, WWII,;" "There is No Color in Justice," a commentary on racism; "Ratkillers," a new play. I am an avocational archaeologist and I take parts of my collection of several thousand Indian artifacts (personal finds) to schools, nature centers, libraries etc. and talk about the 20,000 year history of The First people in Illinois. (See link to website) I'm also a playwright (eleven plays produced), musician, historian (authority on the Underground Railroad in Illinois, the Tuskegee Airmen) and teacher.
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