Blueberry Memories

Leave a comment Standard

I grew up on the coast of Maine in a sleepy little fishing village half way up the coast. My parent’s property looked over St John’s Bay, tucked down through the woods at the end of a dirt driveway. Behind our house were more blackberry and raspberry bushes than we could count. On lazy summer days I would wrap myself in blankets and make my way through the tangled berry thorns to the center on the patch where I would lay my blankets out and soak in the sunshine. It was my little slice of heaven, tucked away among the bramble.

At the height of summer, I would abandon my sanctuary and venture to the very edge of the front yard where the grass met the rocky Maine coastline. It was there the sweetest of all the berries grew. Tiny berries no bigger than the round end of a thumb tack, peeked through think, low lying bushes. If you blinked, you would miss them, Maine blueberries.

Further down east (north and to the east for those from away) there were miles of fields of these tiny berries where workers with rakes that resembled hair picks would spend their days raking in these sweet treats. For 14 years, Maine blueberries were all I knew. I didn’t know until I went away to boarding school that blueberries the size of my thumbnail existed. Yes, I lived in a shelter little bubble. Heck, I didn’t even know white eggs were an actual thing until I was 21, but that’s a story for another time.

Despite this new and mind blowing discovery, I remained loyal to my tiny little Maine blueberries until I was well into my 30s…right about the time we moved to New Hampshire. Now I find myself visiting the coast of Maine less and less. Instead, I find myself staying closer to home, creating new memories separate from those cherished childhood ones I’ve held so close for so long.

It is here, in New Hampshire, that children are forming memories of gigantic blueberries where only 10 fit in your hand at once. With a local blueberry field practically in our backyard, we’ve been creating moments at sunset as we pick these sweet treats to bring home for pies, jellies, and snacks.

They say home is where you hang your hat, but in summer, I would argue that home is where you pick your blueberries.

Compliments-Pass It On

Comments 10 Standard

I have a rule in life, compliment sincerely and compliment often.

We live in a fast paced world that never looks up. Everyone is either too busy or has their nose in some sort of electronic device. We have become self absorbed; distracted by online videos and social media. As we our eyes fixate on the beautiful bodies and scenery dancing across our screens and monitors, we fail to let them fixate on the beauty around us.

When was the last time you looked at your significant other and told them they look good? How about a perfect stranger you passed on the street? It could be something as simple as saying you like their earrings or as unique as you love how their smile lit up the room when they walked in. I used to work in a doctor’s office, coming across cancer patients, pregnant women, the elderly, and every other kind of person. It didn’t matter who they were, what they looked like, or where they were from; I always greeted them with a smile, asked them how they were, and looked for something positive about them. It wasn’t always easy, but 80% of the time I could come up with something.

With almost every compliment I gave out the reply was a look of shock followed by a shy “thank you” and a smile. You would be surprised how much easier a difficult person can be after they are complimented, especially if they aren’t used to it. As time went by, the compliments multiplied. As patients came back for returning visits they would come to my window and compliment me back. The woman in the wheelchair who usually came in complaining about the handicapped parking now came in with a smile saying how nice it was to come in here, and the mom (with two kids in tow) breathed a sigh of relief when I distracted her kids with compliments about they super hero shoes and green magic marker mustache.

One day  co-worker asked me why I gave so many people compliments, and if I really meant them. I told her I didn’t always LOVE their earrings, but there is always something kind of cool about them worth mentioning. As for why I gave out so many compliments, it’s simple: you never know what someone is truly going through. they may have a picture perfect life, or they may be on their shred of hope. Either way, a compliment isn’t going to make their day any worse, the least it can do is carry on that person’s status qua. Besides, a happy person is easier to deal with than a disgruntled person.

We compliment people far to little these days. Now that I have switched jobs, there will be times when it will be two weeks between compliments. I am lucky to be a fairly confident person without a lot of stress in my life, so going a couple weeks without a compliment isn’t going to kill me, but what about that person you’ve never noticed before? How long has it been since they received a compliment?

I make it a point to compliment at least three different EVERY day, not including once a day for my kids and Steve. So, go ahead, try it. Slow down for a second and look up. Compliment someone you pass by. Tell them you like their hair, their necklace, or shirt. If they brush you off, try someone else. Try this three times every day for a week. It might not show, but you just made a positive difference in their life. Besides, there’s no better way to feel good about yourself than helping others feel good about themselves. Happy complimenting peeps! Enjoy!