The Wide Angle: It’s OK everybody, the raspberries are blooming

Published 6:30 am Saturday, July 25, 2020

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I was beginning to have a moment of crisis the other day.

The raspberries were late.

One of the neatest things about owning our house has been the ability to plant raspberries at the house. I know, not a terribly high bar, but given my absolute inability to perfect the Fosbury flop, I try to keep the bar as low as possible. And so, I’m awfully excited to be able to have raspberries.

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I was especially excited this year because they were going to play an important part in my new mead-making ventures, which if you must know has nearly taken over the dining room

For your knowledge, because I’m sure you are just dying to know, I have two types of raspberries growing: the atypical red raspberries you most commonly see at the store and the amazingly better tasting yellow raspberries.

The yellows are by far my favorites, but because they were fighting for space with two of the four remaining bushes out front, they haven’t been quite as plentiful.

Either way, I have come to adore being able to walk out of the front door and pick a handful of raspberries to either put on something or eat on the way to work.

It goes back to my childhood days and my minor crimes of thievery.

Hoping that Austin Police Cap.Todd Clennon isn’t doing a search for my criminal record as he reads this (I’ll save you the time Todd, I don’t have one), my dips into the criminal underbelly of Lake Wilson, Minnesota, included the filching of raspberries from the bushes of an elderly lady not far from my home.

No doubt you are disappointed in me, which, really? It’s taken you this long?

Her property was lined by a good-sized stand of trees that stretched from her backyard, behind the Catholic and Methodist churches, and ended near a friend’s house not far from my own.

Yes Dan Ruiter, I’m referring to your home. Dan, you there? Nevermind, I’m sure he’ll see this.

Our plans were always well thought out and we knew the trees like the back of our hands. Our gang included the familiar faces I spent a lot of time with over the years. Ironic that one of them is a sheriff’s deputy now. I guess the weight of thieving raspberries was just too much.

Like Rambo, with 100 percent less violence, we stalked our way through the trees, working the land like a ranger in a fantasy novel.

Then we would emerge from the treeline with devastating speed, plucking, eating and running away. The latter was usually because the lady who lived there would see us and would then yell at us, sending us on our way.

It wouldn’t stop us though as we would go back again and again, because we were rapscallions.

I would like to take a break in this narrative to let you know how pleased I am with myself in being able to include the worlds “filch” and “rapscallions.” It’s a championship sort of day.

Back to our story.

It should be said that hers was not the only one we would raid. There was another, closer, patch but that brought with it risks. Mostly, it was really, REALLY close to all of our homes. The same block in fact.

It wouldn’t do any good to swipe some raspberries, only to get home and find stern-looking parents waiting for us. Grounding was the antithesis of getting good raspberries.

Did it stop us? Well no, not completely. We just had to do the crimes at dusk and hope we could use the next door gas station to our advantage. That’s where we would park our bikes and then cross back around the fence for our getaways.

Now you know there is a history to my love of raspberries, so you can now understand how distressed I have been that they haven’t budded or flowered yet. They were late last year, but they are even later this year and I have been concerned.

Until that is, a couple days ago, I noticed the first buds. I was elated, but it also meant that Capt. Clennon or any other officer wouldn’t have to respond to a report of an adult male stealing raspberries from people’s yards.

I’m willing to bet it wouldn’t be as adorable.