Chuckle Berries

“Mom?” Tammie questioned. “Do you think you can get up and walk around for a while?”

         I looked sadly up at my daughter’s concerned face from where I lay on a cot in the corner of my living room. I’d had a total knee replacement three days earlier. Sick of how painful my leg felt, I complained, “Since my leg hurts even while laying down, I may just as well be up walking!”

Like a good little nurse, Tammie had come home for a few weeks to make sure I was well hydrated, exercised and comforted as I recovered from surgery. She placed the walker next to the cot and I pushed off the mattress with both hands and my good leg. My daughter suggested, “Let’s go out on the deck. It’s in the shade now and the weather is really nice.”

After taking a few steps, my surgical leg really didn’t feel that much worse, so I felt encouraged. Stepping out into the fresh air, I took a deep breath and sighed with satisfaction, “This was a good idea.” I settled down onto a deck chair. A lovely Goldilocks breeze ruffled my bedhead hair.

From the top of a backyard pine tree, a cicada loudly buzzed. Tammie nodded sadly, “That’s the sound of the end of summer.”

Smiling, I commented, “That sound always reminds me of fat frying out of a slice of bacon. The bacon in this case is our lovely summer.” After pausing I mused, “Once the fat is gone, what you have left is a beautiful, crisp brown slice of bacon. I guess that represents our winter. So, our winters aren’t really that terrible. It’s a time to rest and use what we stored away. Winter lasts too long. That makes people appreciate spring even more when it finally returns.”

From under the canopy of trees along the small river running past my house, we heard a chipmunk angrily clucking away at an intruder. A car pulled into the yard. Tammie exclaimed happily, “It’s your sister Agnes!”

Agnes had come with gifts for the invalid. In her arms she carried a small basket of perfect red apples from her own backyard. Putting the apple basket down on the table, she held up a small bag of Grand Marnie chocolate-covered pecans that I am very partial to. One corner was ripped open. She said, “I brought you something to make you feel happy.” Glancing at the rip, she explained, “I had to do a quality check.”

Tammie asked with a laugh, “Is this treat like the treats your Daddy gave you after you had to see the doctor when you were children?”

With a big grin, Agnes nodded. “After seeing Dr. Kroeplin, Daddy always stopped at one of the grocery stores in Stratford to get us a treat. It made us feel so much better.”

A strange sound made us all look up in time to see seven sandhill cranes fly over the house. I commented, “The croaking sound they make reminds me of a gurgling hose.”

As the large birds disappeared, my sister said, “I didn’t intend to stay long, so I’ll be leaving now. I hope you feel better soon.”

An occasional small, sweet treat after a meal or with a hot cup of tea makes me happy. Whenever I took one of Agnes’ Grand Marnie chocolate-covered pecans, I’d ask Tammie, “Would you like a chuckle berry, too?”

After a few times, my daughter frowned and asked, “Why are you calling these candies, ‘chuckle berries’?”

Popping a chocolate into my mouth, I smiled and answered, “They make me happy. Not only do they taste really good, but they also make me think of my sweet sister and how Daddy tried making it up to us whenever we had to have a scary doctor visit.”


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