Berry Picking Angel

Opa (my dad) is coming for a visit, so I tell Son we need to pick Saskatoons for Opa. I mostly just want to get him out for a walk, but I know if he has a purpose like this, he will be more willing. And I saw a couple days ago that the Saskatoons are looking ripe and perfect, and I can’t resist.

We’re at a bush and we’ve started picking berries, but not too many because they are quite high up and hard to reach. Plus Daughter is sleeping in the carrier, which makes it doubly hard. We are about to move to a second bush, farther down the path, when Son turns and sees an older Chinese man walking towards us. Son thinks it’s one of our neighbors, who is always very friendly, so he opens his arms wide and says, “Hi!”, to the man. It’s not our neighbor, but the man is delighted with Son’s greeting. He sees what we’re doing and asks us (with hand gestures because he doesn’t speak English) if the berries are ok to eat. I nod, yes. He points down the path, indicating that there’s another bush there too. I nod and say, “yes, there are more there too.” Then the man walks to the bush, grabs a branch, bends it down efficiently, and picks berries like a pro. Where I pick and choose the berries, one by one, he pulls them off in bunches, then drops them into my bucket. He keeps picking them, so Son and I join in. He has clearly decided to help us get as many berries as we can, so he keeps picking and we keep helping. We communicate simply with hand gestures, each speaking in our own language or we rest in comfortable silence. Once we’ve decided we’re finished with one bush, he rushes us to the next one. The berries here are fat and juicy. He says points to them and says what I imagine to be something like, “look at these beautiful berries. There are so many of them!” And I nod and say, “yes, so many!” Other Chinese people come walking by. He chats with them, explains what we’re doing. Those that speak some English ask about the berries. Son explains it all to them. He loves explaining. Suddenly, an ordinary morning of picking berries in the woods has turned into a party.

Eventually the passerby go on their way. We pick some more until Son and I have filled one small bucket and half of a large one. We thank him profusely, then walk together until it’s time to part ways.

Isn’t it amazing what can happen when we greet each other with kindness? 

What was the best moment of your weekend?

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