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For some time now I’ve toyed with the idea of taking the kids to the farmlands in South Florida to pick strawberries. I haven’t pursued the idea too much because other activities have distracted us from this pursuit; plus, I’m not all that great with critters. A close encounter with anything that crawls while picking strawberries is not my idea of “fun” or “educational.” I leave those outings to my husband who prefers nothing else than to explore dark soil with his fingers and explain the difference between a centipede and a millipede. Our kids enjoy those simple moments far more than other escapades we plan.

So, this past Sunday while hunting for Easter eggs, my husband, who doubles as Tarzan on his days off, discovers that the lazy leafy tree in front of our house has sprouted a fruit which strongly resembles a mulberry. After tasting and waiting a very brief amount of time, he determined it was edible and proceeded to encourage our kids to pick the tree of its fruit.

I am uncertain whether this is a mulberry, boysenberry or olallieberry tree.  The fruit it grows is fragile and moist, its skin a deep red-purple hue that easily tears when touched.

Our children had a wonderful afternoon collecting and eating the berries. The sun warmed their backs as they joined their father beneath our mulberry tree. Their hands and faces, stained in rich, purple mulberry juice, gleamed between the branches.

Later, as I removed the purple fruit dye from their skin and clothes, I felt a deep sense of satisfaction as they excitedly spoke of the fruit they had gathered.

Happy memories will endure long after the skin is scrubbed clean and the mulberries are eaten.

April 6, 2010.

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