Schooled by Strawberries

July 12, 2008
By Caitlin Kirchner, Appleton, WI

My thoughts were certainly less than cheerful as I grabbed several cardboard flats and plunked down on the wagon that would haul me out to the strawberry fields. I was there, as my dad put it, to "earn my way through college" while the lucky guys who got everything handed to them were asleep.

When I told my dad that I wanted to go to college I thought he would look over the rims of his glasses and say "Son, I want to support you in this and am fully prepared to pay your tuition." Nope. What he actually said was "I think that's a fine thing to do,son. I will pay half of your tuition."

"That's all?"

"That's all."

So here I was out in the green fields that stretched to infinity, bending over the rows and picking the bright red stainmakers.As my fingers slowly turned crimson from the berry juice I griped and complained, thinking how embarassed I would be if some of my classmates saw me selling strawberries from a roadside stand.My back started to ache. I wished that it, and the rest of me, were still in bed.

But then I remembered the behavior of the guys who got everything handed to them. They were forever late for classes and spent most of their study time at parties. When they did study they acted like martyrs. Overall, not one of them seemed to appreciate what they had. But because I had to work for every hour spent in my desk I was careful not to miss anything. Classes included!

Right then and there I thanked my dad for making my education valuble to me. My mood brightened and I ignored the ache in my back. The unlucky guys who got everything handed to them disappeared from my mind.

At last my flats were full. I took a seat on the wagon that would bring me back to my car and chose a bright red jewel of a berry from one of the flats. As the sweet juice flooded my mouth I thought of how proud I was to be schooled by strawberries.

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