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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
A Strawberry Moon

Amelia wiped her brow with a clean white handkerchief and then stuffed it back in her jean’s pocket. The sun beat down on her head. She turned to the golden orb and adjusted her straw hat, tying the purple bow tighter around her chin. “So many weeds! I can hardly see my strawberries.” The trowel dug into the rich brown earth, spilling the soil and exposing the bramble’s roots. “I’ll be at this all day. How will I ever escape all this work.” She plucked the weeds out and tossed them into a pile at her side. After another hour, Amelia stood. “Time for a break.” A pitcher of icy lemonade sat on the umbrella’d glass table.

She sat in a plastic lawn chair and reached for an empty glass. When she poured the still chilled liquid, a few drops splashed on her wrist and invited her tongue to lick them off. “Oh that is so good.” Her mouth sipped the lemonade from the glass as she gazed at her strawberry patch. Her thoughts went back to long ago, when she a small child.

                                             *  *  *

“Grandpa John, I want you to come outside and see my strawberry patch.” Amelia took his hand and tugged. “Mama makes me water and weed it every day.”

Her grandpa smiled. “You have to do all that hard work if you want to grow delicious strawberries, Amelia. How are we going to see your berries if it’s dark outside?”

“Grandpa John!” She let go of his hand and put one of her own hands to her forehead. With a dramatic gesture, she giggled. “Grandpa there’s a full moon out. It’s so light that we can see everything.”

He opened the back door and stepped outside. “I see.

The songs of cicadas filled the night air with music.

“Grandpa, those cicadas are noisy. Let’s just ignore them.” Amelia looked around on the patio for her trowel and bucket.

“Those are boy cicadas, Amelia. They’re singing to the girls. Did you know cicada’s make their noises by pushing air from their chests. Crickets rub their wings together to sing. I hear a lot of crickets tonight too.” Grandpa John picked up the bucket from behind an oily railroad tie and handed it to his granddaughter. “Is this what you’re looking for?”

“Yes, Grandpa. Thanks.” She took it from him. “I hear frogs too. They’re croaking. Oh look, Grandpa John. I see fireflies! They flash their little green bottoms. I know that when I see a firefly that my strawberries are ready to be picked.” Amelia skipped toward the strawberry patch. “Come on, Grandpa John. There’s the full moon.”

Grandpa turned to look at the huge luminescent orb. “That, my sweet Amelia, is what the French call, la lune rose. That means the rose moon, but I call it a strawberry moon.”

“A strawberry moon?” Amelia looked up. “It is sort of pink.”

            "It's the moon that comes up pink for strawberries." He knelt and rippled through the plants. “I see the strawberry moon is right once again. Look at these strawberries. “

“Let’s pick them.” Amelia plucked a few from the vine and put them in the bucket, with her grandpa’s help. After it was full, they put it on the cedar wood picnic table. “I’ll go and wash them and then we can eat them. Stay right there, Grandpa John.” Amelia disappeared into the house and came out a few minutes later with the bowl of red fruit. Water droplets clung to them, catching the reflection of moonbeams in their wetness.

They ate one after another, the juice from the ripe berries dripped on their chins. “You’ve made a big mess, Grandpa.” Amelia wiped the red stains from his face.  

                                                *  *  *

A cat sprung from the bushes, landing on Amelia’s lap. “Oh, Ginger, you’ve interrupted my day dream.”  She stroked the feline’s back. “I was thinking about my grandpa. You frightened me, you silly cat.”

Amelia picked up her glass of lemonade and nudged the cat off.

The backdoor opened and a small toe-headed boy rushed out. “Mama, what are you doing out here all by yourself. It’s so hot!”

“Dallin, I was thinking about my Grandpa John. I suppose I escaped to the past for a few minutes.” Amelia took another sip of juice.

“Did you finish weeding the strawberries? I want to eat some.” Dallin looked on the table, but saw none. “Aw, Mama. I want to eat a strawberry.”

Amelia smiled at her son. “They won’t be ready for picking until tonight. I’ll tell you what. I’ll let you stay up late tonight and you can come out and help me pick them. Would you like that?”

“Yes, Mama. I’ll make myself stay awake.” Dallin went back in the house.

Amelia finished her lemonade and carried the empty glass and watered-down lemonade inside.

That night after supper Dallin ran to the window. “Mama, it’s almost dark. Can we go out now and pick some strawberries? I’m trying real hard to stay awake.”

Amelia glanced outside. “I think it’s about time. Grab your bucket.” She opened the back door and stepped outside.

            Dallin followed with bucket in hand. “Mama! Look at the moon! It’s huge and it’s pink! I’ve never seen a pink moon before.”

“That, my son, is called a strawberry moon.” Repeating the words her Grandpa John used to say, she whispered, “It’s the moon that comes up pink for strawberries.”

Dallin and his mama sat in the patch searching for the biggest, ripest fruits. When the bucket could hold no more, Amelia carried it to the table. They sat in the patio chairs and ate strawberries until the juice dripped down their chins.

Amelia dug into her pocket and pulled out her handkerchief. She wiped the juice from her son’s chin. A tear rolled down her cheek as she remembered a moment just like this on a night long ago.

“What’s the matter, Mama? Do you feel sick? Did you eat too many strawberries?” Dallin stood and wrapped his arms around her.

Wiping the tears, Amelia whispered, “I love strawberries so much and I love you.”

The two embraced in love as the strawberry moonbeams shone down on them.

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