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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write something suitable for CHILDREN (05/31/07)

TITLE: Blackberry Picking
By Fran Cantwell


The day was warm. My brothers and sisters were ready. Every weekend we

went for a picnic in the country. My mother made her famous potato salad with

cucumbers in it. My friends laughed, but I didn’t care. I loved it.

My aunts, uncles and cousins met at the Roadside Park. My father was the only

one who could grill. Each family brought food. It looked like a King’s feast.

The adults prepared the food, and the children picked wild blackberries with

Molt. We weren’t allowed to call him “grandpa.” My mother called him Big Molt.

Granny was a big lady too. She wore Molt’s bib overalls. She looked funny in those

overalls. She told us the overalls kept the thorns away. Those blackberries had lots of


Molt watched as Granny inspected our buckets. He was holding it. He

smiled at me as if to say, “Will it be yours?” I knew what he was thinking. We talked

about it every time we picked berries. Molt always gave a silver dollar to the person who

picked the most berries. In those days a silver dollar was a big deal.

My brother looked at Molt. He wanted that silver dollar. He had that look in his

eye. Would he win? I couldn’t let that happen. No matter what!

Granny finished looking over our buckets and Molt told us to split up, so we

wouldn’t trip over each other.

My cousins went one direction and my brother went the other. My sisters

wanted to go with me. I wanted to fill up my bucket. I didn’t want any interference. My

youngest sister always got tired and I got stuck carrying her around. There was no way

that was happening today. All I could think about was that silver dollar.

My sisters went one way. I turned around and went the other way. They

called me, but I ran off into the bushes. I heard my brother talking about how he was

going win that silver dollar. I crouched down so he couldn’t see me. Then I saw them.

Millions of berries! I almost shouted. I couldn’t believe it. There were enough berries

for ten buckets!

My arms got tired from picking. I sat down and picked some more. It seemed

like I’d been picking forever. It was getting hotter but I kept picking. Why wasn’t my

bucket filling up? As I picked I heard someone coming. I couldn’t let them see my gold

mine. What if it was my brother? I would have to let him pick with me. As the person

came closer I prayed, ‘please God, don’t let it be him.’

Then I saw it was Molt. Oh, thank God it was Molt. He looked at my bucket

then reached in his pocket and pulled out that silver dollar. He never said a word; I think

he knew that I was about to give up. I saw that silver dollar, and picked faster.

I heard my mother calling. Not now, I thought. My bucket is almost full, I can’t

come yet! I hollered that I would be there soon. I just had to fill up my bucket. I picked

faster. I knew if she came looking for me I’d have to stop. I filled my bucket and headed


Everyone was watching as I came out of the blackberry bushes. I was carrying

my bucket. I kept thinking about was how I would spend that silver dollar.

Some of my cousins were eating sweet corn. My sisters were setting the table.

My brother was holding his bucket. Molt told us to set them on the table. I shut

my eyes real tight and prayed that I’d have the most. My sisters were first. Theirs was

half full. My cousins put theirs down, only half in theirs, too.

It was my turn. Mine was plum’ full! My brother was last. My heart was beating, and

I thought it would burst! He set his bucket on the table. It was only half full. I saw my

brother’s stained face, and knew he had eaten most of his berries.

Molt handed me the silver dollar, and smiled. He knew I would win. I always

won. But each time was better than the last. The best part, was knowing that the silver

dollar was waiting for me. Oh, I liked the berries, but it was getting that silver dollar

from Molt that meant the most to me.

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This article has been read 642 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Kristen Hester06/07/07
What a sweet memory.
Janice Fitzpatrick06/10/07
Very cute story and sweet childhood memories are nicely arranged in this treasure of a story. Lord bless,Janice
Lucile McKenzie06/12/07
Nice memory. I think you could make this into a really good story for children with a little reworking. Perhaps a bit more "show" and a little less "tell." Draw out the character of grandpa more. Show us how sticky the berry juice was on your hands. It's a lovely memory and I think a lot of children will be able to relate to it. They all know about trying to win and get the prize. Nice piece.
Jacquelyn Horne06/14/07
Wonderful family memories here.