Strawberry Bliss This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

November 25, 2010
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When I was a little girl, my grandfather used to take me strawberry picking every summer in Maine. We'd drive north for about two hours before we reached the fields, since he insisted Maine had the best strawberries in all of New England.

Waiting for that day was like waiting for rain in a drought. Finally one morning I would hear my grandfather's beat-up Chevy pull into our driveway. I would spring out of bed and be ready in minutes. Once my grandfather helped me up into his truck, I swear you couldn't touch the smile that spread across my face. I was the happiest little girl in the world.

The ride always seemed to take forever, but with oldies playing on the radio and Grandpa singing along, I was content. When we were almost there, he would stop to get a coffee and me a chocolate milk. Then, just as I was about to burst with excitement, I would look out the window and see rows and rows of pick-your-own strawberries. My grandfather would look over and smile as he watched my face light up.

At the strawberry field, he always bought two large baskets to put our berries in, and I'd grab his hand and drag him as fast as I could to the nearest patch. We'd spend hours picking big, juicy berries, and when our baskets were overflowing, we'd have a contest to see who had found the biggest one. I always won. Seeing the smile on my grandfather's face, and looking out onto the sun-kissed field, I felt invincible.

We had to leave before the sun started going down to make it home for dinner, and on the ride home we'd each sneak a strawberry or two. My grandpa would talk to me about everything from his golf outings to his glory days in high school.

I loved the feeling of walking into my house and having it smell like a Yankee Candle because of my grandmother and mother's cooking. Though I was completely covered in dirt with my fingertips stained red from our adventure, they both would greet me with a warm hug and kiss.

My grandma would use the strawberries to make the sweetest jam in the world, with a few apples thrown in. Mother would make a strawberry-apple pie that made your mouth water. Those were the days I will never forget, and that was the summer I realized my grandfather was one of my best friends.

I didn't know that that summer would be the last time I went strawberry picking with my grandfather. Later that year he would die from heart disease. My grandfather loved me, and driving to Maine meant so much to me. I still wish I could see him. If he were here, I'd drive him up north and find him the biggest strawberry in the whole field.

Each summer I think about these memories, never dwelling on the sadness. I realize the beauty of our moments together, and I cherish the time I was granted with my grandpa. He helped me look at the world in a more positive light and taught me to cherish what I have. I know that somewhere my best friend is watching over me, and he wouldn't want to see me upset over our happy memories.

Every time I go strawberry picking, I still get the feeling of butterflies I had as a child. When I close my eyes, I can smell my mother's hot strawberry-apple pie. In life, you never know how much time you have left, and time doesn't seem to stop for anyone. You can't stop it, you can't fast-forward it, and you can't rewind it. However you can cherish the memories and look toward the future because it's well worth the wait.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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