Strawberry Table

Even though we offered a choice of selecting berries individually by the pound from the berry bar in the center of the store or already packaged, priced by the pint or quart, customers would sort through the berries in the baskets, rearranging them within a basket and among the baskets, women especially, looking like they were at a rummage sale for socks. Then they’d bring this quart towering with berries to the register. It reminded me of when I was a little girl and read this fairy tale about “The Village of Cream Puffs,” the place where Wing Tip the Spick lived a little girl with eyes “so blue, such a clear light shining blue, they are the same as cornflowers with blue raindrops shining and dancing on the silver leaves after a sun shower.” (From Rootabaga Stories, by Carl Sandburg.)

The story was illustrated with a picture of a little girl wearing two pronounced beauty marks, freckles, on her creamy white face with the strawberry red lips, and holding onto a tether of floating mountains of cream puffs capped with strawberries and whipped cream, stretching from here to the horizon. The Village of Cream Puffs is so light it must be tethered to a spool so when the wind is done blowing the people of the village come together and wind up the spool to bring the village back where it was before. Wing Tip the Spick’s freckles that her mother has placed on her chin look like two little burnt cream puffs kept in the oven too long, so that when she peers into the looking glass to brush her hair, she will be reminded of where she came from and won’t stay away too long.

Sometimes if the customer’s berry mountain was too tall for a plastic bag to scale and he or she had gotten the berries from the basket display on my checkout counter when I’d stepped away for a moment, I’d say, “Oh, look at this. Somebody sure filled these baskets unequally. Let me just take a few of these and put them in this half-full basket here,” and I’d grab a small handful out of the customer’s basket and replace them in the other basket. The customer never said anything.

–Carolina Gringo
as told to Samantha Mozart

4 Responses to Strawberry Table

  1. As if they were rummaging for a socks! That’s a lovely description! I remember a previous post in where you said you were at the checkout counter weighing strawberries and the customers –

    This is a delightful tale thanks Carol ..

    • Yes, it is funny, Susan. I have the pleasure of observing the amazing and absurd human actions. I’m always like, “Really? You’re doing that?” Great grist for storytelling and humor — and laughing at ourselves, as well. Thank you for stopping by and commenting, as always.

  2. We customers sure can be picky! 😉 I always check that the baskets don’t have rotten or over ripe strawberries or whatever fruit I’m checking out!

    • And, I’m one of those customers, Gwynn. Friends don’t enjoy shopping with me, because it takes me a while to weigh and balance and sniff just the perfect piece of produce having just the right color and feel to the touch.

      Thanks for stopping in and checking out this latest story I’ve harvested.

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