Blackberry Pickn’ by Granny.

Blackberries and mintSometimes in late spring or early summer blackberries begin to ripen in South Ga. When I was growing up my family felt they had to get there share. They grew wild everywhere. At first we would pick from the blackberry bushes right around the house, along the garden fence, and behind the barn. We could get enough for a pie easily.

Granny was always close by cautioning us about snakes and at some point she would get serious about the blackberry business. She and I would ramble all over the country side, dressed and armed for the occasion. I in a pair of overalls my cousin had handed down. She in her sun bonnet and long sleeved dress that reached her ankles.

Besides the buckets she carried a hoe and I carried a long sturdy stick. This I used to poke around in the bushes good before I got close enough to pick the berries. If I heard something that sounded like dried peas rattling in the pod I was to run to her, she would kill with her hoe (the snake I mean). I was to remember that unlike rattlesnakes, moccasins didn’t give a warning, they just struck.

As we picked she would tell me horror stories about people that had been bitten by a poisonous snake and what had been done for it. The one I remember most vividly was someone had been bitten on the leg and a hole was dug and he sat with his leg buried in the hole. The soil drew the poison out. If a snake bit me I just hope it wouldn’t be on my face.

If we had more than we could carry with two hands we would thread them on the pole. Granny took one end and I the other. When we arrived home, Mama and Granny set to work. Canning and making jam and jelly. Sometimes, but not often, the jelly didn’t jell properly and they would have to cook it over. If it still did not work it was considered a loss. Until Dad, one day pored some oh his plate and decided he liked blackberry syrup better than the jelly.

Once when I had the occasion to eat breakfast at IHOP to my surprised blackberry syrup was on the menu. I had some and it was good, but I wondered if it had started out to be jelly and didn’t quiet make it.

By the way, on these blackberry adventures we never ran into a poisonous snake. Maybe they heard us coming and hid, or we just didn’t see them.

Whosoever finds my resting place

Whosoever finds my resting place

Is charged with the tasks

Of planting flowers on my grave

Of telling their family they are loved

Of smiling when they want to frown

Of taking lemons and drinking lemonade

Whosoever finds my resting place

Should read this list and know its true

That you are wonderful

That you can make a difference

That though the world is scary, you are not alone

That inner beauty will never fade

 

though the world is scary, you are not alone

The Fairy Godmother- A retelling of Cinderella

In this ingenious retelling of Cinderella, Elena Klovis is abandoned by her stepmother and left to mind the house.  Seeing her chance for a better life she attends the local mop fair in search of a job with fair wages and a kind master.  What she finds is so much more.  Her fairy godmother needs an apprentice and Elena fits the bill.  Godmothering is hard work, there are babies to save, questers to test, unicorns to run out of the garden and one particularly uncharming prince to deal with.  All the while trying to steer the Tradition down a path of happily ever afters.

 

“...for a country whose people ceased to believe in magic soon lost much of their ability to imagine and dream, and before long, they ceased to believe--or hope-- for anything.”

What  I liked

I always love a good fairy tale retelling and Mercedes Lackey has never written a book I didn’t like so how could I go wrong with this one?  Elena is determined to not succumb to her circumstances.  Her intelligence and kindness show from the very beginning.  She may be a damsel in distress but she doesn’t need a knight in shining armor to save her day.   I got this book when it first came out and have all the books in the series which I read over and over again. 

“… sometimes good people [are] helpless… terrible things happen… to good people… there [are] sad endings as well as happy ones.”
Mercedes Lackey, The Fairy Godmother

 What I didn’t like

Cinderella has never been my favorite fairy tale and I probably wouldn’t have picked it up had anyone else written it.  I’m glad I did.  The copy I have had a few typos but I would imagine that newer editions have cleaned those up.  It’s a Luna Book so I knew it was a romance of sorts though it wasn’t overwhelming or super graphic.  I didn’t expect the few curse words that were thrown in, however, they were few and far between and didn’t take away from the story line.  In fact they made the point more sharply than other words would have been able to do. 

The Tradition doesn’t care how the tale ends, only that it is told.

Who should read this

Anyone who loves fairytale retellings or fantasy books would like this one.  Mercedes Lackey is a master story teller and doesn’t fail to impress with this one.  Click this link to find a list of similar books on GoodReads and follow me over there while your at it.

Over all, I give it 4 stars.  There were a few weird formatting issues and those always bug me. It could also be a little more Cinderella like, it kind of went into left field on that front which was completely fine by me but might bug others.

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