Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Picking Berries and Having Conversations

(Conversations week sweepstakes (now until June 30th) continues... see Conversations Week post for details)

My sister Kentucky lives way out in the southern suburbs.

Interestingly, my doctors are out on that side of town. I feel like I need to pack a picnic lunch when I travel out that way. It takes no more than an 35 minutes to about 50 minutes to get to my desired destinations, but come on... you dealing with me, a chicken who lives 4.6 miles from work. Anytime longer than 20 minutes in a car feels like an eternity to me.

She does a little exploring out that way, but she doesn't like a lot of what she sees. But there are places she wants to go. A good month ago, we explored the Old Mill restaurant, and I think she and her friends live in that place now, lol.

Last Friday, I picked her up so she could go to the appointment with me. Then we went for lunch, and I drove her home. She was pointing out some of her favorite spots to me.

She pointed to a sign.  "I've never been there before, but I want to go."

It was a pick-your-own fruit and vegetable farm. These types of farms are scattered in the far suburbs, where there is plenty of land. You definitely don't see these places where I live, in downtown Atlanta. Normally farmers bring their offerings to the various city farmers markets. That's as good and fresh as it gets.

"You wanna go tomorrow?" I asked, as tomorrow was a Saturday, and we had discussed earlier that we each didn't have plans.

"Yes we can go," she said. And we can go to the Peac.htree City Farmer's Market, too."

Hot diggity dog!! I was going to get to hang out with my sister 2 days in a row! I was so geeked and excited that I could barely sleep!

The farmer's market was fun...

I didn't know it was that many white folks in Atlanta. It had to be a good couple hundred folks there. Felt like thousands in all that doggone heat. Sigh.

I bought some nice squash, potatoes and green onions.

I sauteed up my squash...

They sure were good. I taught Kentucky how to sautee her veggies, but she can't get it right. I don't see what's so hard about sauteeing veggies. I taught her how to fry chicken, and she gets it right everytime. I guess she will just have to keep working on the veggies.

After the farmer's market, we headed a couple of miles down the road to that farm.  They were allowing people to pick strawberries, blueberries and blackberries that day. They had a really nice store, with all kinds of homemade relishes and jams, and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables (you know I like that...).

So we went out into the fields and looked around.

And the fields are huge.

We were assigned a row and were told we can pick as much as wanted.

"Ya'll got snakes out here?" I asked.

"No ma'am," the man said. "No snakes."

I eyed him suspiciously. And if I saw a snake, it would be on him. He will see LadyLee tare up the fields and the store trying to get away from it. LOL

Anyway, there were TONS of strawberries.

They weren't huge, but they were a good size. Firm and fresh. And right off the vine instead of being trucked in from 3000 miles away. You can't beat that.

We also picked blackberries.

You really had to look for the ripe ones, as most weren't ready to pick.

Man.... It was so hot out there... If someone would've hollered "Ceeeeeeeeliiiiiieeee!", I do beleive I woulda hollered "Yes, Mister!"

Yes. It was HAWT. Kentucky didn't follow me to the blackberry patch. She went back in the building. (I think she was hot).

I was middling around in the blackberry patch and I heard something moving. It sounded like some paper crinkling. First thing I thought was "Snake!!"

And I skipped merrily away! (Didn't tare down the patch).

Kentucky came out to the blackberry patch later. She found a bag of blackberry cobbler mix, and decided to make some blackberry cobbler. I walked with her and pointed out some of the blackberries. We went in the shed and paid for our berries.

My berries and 2 peaches came out to $3.57 cents.

Not bad!

I was so glad to spend 2 DAYS in a row with one of the greatest people I know- my little sister.

There was much fun in the sun...

Much laughter... and much talking.

While driving to and fro to our destinations, and finally to her place, we talked about what was heavy on her mind: our mother was not picking up the phone when she called. Our mother was mad at Kentucky.

"I just don't know what to do," she said. "I keep calling. I keep asking if she wants to get out and go do something. And she says no, she doesn't want to be bothered."

"Just keep calling," I said. "Or get Milk and Cookies [our baby brother] to call."

(That's not what I wanted to tell her to do. But I'm trying to be positive here, for her sake).

Milk and Cookies called our mother. "Kentucky, she said she don't want to talk to you anymore," he said.

Man. What a horrible thing to say. I would call our mother myself, but I'm not going through all that. That is between her and Kentucky. I know I don't need to call because that will just throw Kentucky in further trouble. And I really don't want that.

So here I am, having to talk and talk and talk about this. It drains me a bit, because I think I take the easy way out:

I'm not going to fight with anyone. I'm not gonna make you love and respect me.

Kentucky works hard on that. She is the good sheep. I am the bad sheep. And I don't mind.

And it just pisses me off that she gets treated like this. And what's scary is that she is getting older.

"Lisa, I am learning that I have choices. And I don't have to deal with this. I really need to work on myself and my own personal development."

I want to call my mother and say, "Uh, Ma'am... alright now. She is getting older and she figuring out that she don't have to take your sh**.

And she is getting like that with her father, too. That's not good.

Or maybe it is.

I don't know. I try to stay neutral. And I spend the many hours just listening... and picking her emotions and heart up off the floor.

For mother's day, my sister came over, and she bought me a gift - a potpourri rain-scented packet from a Pi.er One. And she just kept saying over and over again... "Thank you for letting me talk. Thank you for listening."

And I could hear the tears in her voice.

And I realized then, that I've been fulfilling a mother role of sorts for her. Just like so many have done for me.


I think as children, we want to please our parents. Our mother is hard to please, for whatever reason. I gave up on that years ago. I couldn't take the stress. But Kentucky is a kinder, gentler type. She takes the emotional beatings, and gets right back up. And I do whatever I can to support her stretch to have a relationship with our mother.

But this recent falling out between our mother and Kentucky has been pretty hard. Hours and hours of pontification abound. Kentucky talks, and I just listen, listen, listen. I am mentally tired of it all, to tell you the truth. Mostly because I don't have solutions for her. I want her to have the happy ending she desires. I just don't know how to help her with that.

You know me...my answers are hard and cold. Folks can kick rocks. Folks can kiss my ashy kneecaps. I have no tolerance for tomfoolery and emotional manipulation. NONE.

That's not a good path or a proper answer for her. I am like a puff of smoke: I will disappear into thin air. I have UFO tendencies. If family sees me, they sit and stare. It's rare to see me.

Kentucky is different. She is a helper and problem solver. I am to an extent. But my patience is running on fumes.

Yes, the disagreement going on between my mother and Kentucky.... It's been so hard.

...because it involves our sick grandmother. 


  1. We are not responsible for the happiness of others, even if it is our parents. Being emotionally healthy means we establish healthy boundaries.My dad just turned 80 and is in early dementia. He has always been mean, verbally and physically abusive and hard to please. Since I've learned how to establish boundaries with him and other toxic family members, I've felt a lot better. His bitter and vicious parenting style affected every part of my life. It took many years for me to accept that I'm not stupid, ugly, and worthless. I no longer allow myself to be victimized by anyone's dysfunctions, no matter who it is. I'm not bitter, I just love them, pray for them and leave them to wallow in their poison. I pray that your sister finds peace concerning your mom.

    1. And that's what my sister needs to understand... all that you have said. I have said that and so much more. I say the most: "It is NOT your fault that they treat you the way they do. That is them and their insecurities. You are a good person.".

      A book that I reviewed here, Walking into Walls, has a section on establishing boundaries. She read that and called me and we talked about it. So I hope that that helps her in someway. I just don't want her to be down on herself about it all.

      We have to learn to accept and love ourselves, even in the midst of rejection by others.

  2. I am welcoming the wisdom that is growing more as I age. It is bittersweet that some people cannot be a part of my life because I will no longer be treated just any kind of way. These boundaries are so necessary for my mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health.

    1. And I think it's an age thing. I told my sister, she is such a blessing to more people than she will ever know. And it's suspect that certain folks can just tare your spirit down for no doggone reason. She needs to set boundaries and focus on those who build her up and not tare her down.

      But it's a lesson that I myself am forever learning also. She will learn it too.

  3. I will never understand why the mother daughter dynamic has to be so tumultuous. Your sister will find her peace in her time.

    I remember "U-pick" places growing up in Florida. Granny would drive far out and we would pick fruit and beans. I hated doing that, but would love to do it with my granny today. Maybe on my next visit...she would love if I suggest that.

    1. I will never understand it either, future POTUS. I think about it often. And how about how much better and confident of a person I would be if the woman who is suppose to be my life example, my mother, was truly a positive example.

      There is NOTHING like freshly picked fruit and vegetables. It makes me miss having a garden!

  4. your sister reminds me of my sister and you remind me of me when it comes to how we deal with our parentals. I've learned so much about myself in the process of dealing with the kind of parents I have. I use to be angry and felt jipped at the parents I have. Now I have come to accept it. I have learned many lessons but two of the biggest things for me were (1). they helped me to be closer to God because I really couldn't depend on them and 2). they taught me not what to do when I become a parent......

    my parents weren't horrible or anything like that but they definitely left a lot to be desired when it came to parenting. they had their moments every now and then when they done good but those moments were few and far between.

    now that they are much older they try a lot more now...however sometimes it's too little too late. and because they need me and my sister more now it's a whole different dynamic. I've learned how to set boundaries and make them abide by them. right now i'm trying to find that balance between spending more time with them because they are getting older, but not letting their negativity affect me. I love my parents and thank God I've had them this long because some people never know where they come from and never had an opportunity to have parents. However I had to come to the realization that they just weren't the kind of parents I hoped for and in general the kind of people they are just doesn't allow it. They did the best they knew how I suppose.

    Interesting enough from stories I've heard here and there I wonder if some of it had to do with my grandmother...families...boy I tell you they can be your best friend or your worse enemy sometimes....*sigh*...sorry I wrote a book..

    1. Make your comment as long as you need to, honey. I gleen much from them. And from our back-and-forth texting too:)

      You had two important words here: boundaries and balance.

      I have proper boundaries, but I myself and looking for balance. I am able to have a civil conversation with my mother, but when she goes off on a tangent, I am learning to just stay calm and go on about my business. I am learning to be respectful and stay respectful regardless of her actions. She and I have had no problems concerning that in the past couple of years. Yet she is still someone I deal with rarely. I will keep it that way.

      Alas... the tail end of your comment... You and your foreshadowing.

      My grandma post surrounds much of that.

      P.S. Text me when you have a chance. Got something I wanna tell you.

  5. I would love to go pick strawberries. Hmm, I need to see if there are any places like that around my way. My mother and I used to have a VERY tumultuous relationship and now it seems my dad and I are going thru something similar. I wear my heart on my sleeves and used to get so down on myself cause I couldn't figure out wth I did wrong to my parents. When my granma was alive, she told me something very valuable that I hold on to. She said "baby, their cross is not yours to bear. Do not get down on yourself. They are mad at themselves and see things in you that they wish they would have had and it makes them mad. You just do right by them and forget what they got going on". Granma wasn't speaking nothing but the truth.

    1. Your babies would LOVE the strawberry picking. I thought about them when we were out there. And you know your son D... that boy... he would be nothing but entertaining in that scenario. LOL

      I love what your granma said. That is good wisdom.

      Essentially, when we are happy with ourselves, we don't cause chaos in the lives of others.

      People who can't control their emotions make an all attempt to control the emotions of others. Sigh.

  6. Whew! Just reading about your sister and mother is draining. I am an only child and don't have anyone I can really talk to. My grandma and I talk and we vent to each other at times. Yet I pull back because my grandma is always hearing about everyone's problems and being asked for money or help.

    I sometimes talk to my daughter. I pull back with her because I don't want to burden her. Plus she is closer with my mother than I am.

    I do wonder about the honor thy mother and father commandment sticks in my mind at times when I vent about my mother and get mad at my father who I never knew and has been dead for over 25 years. SMH. It is hard to know that without them I would not be here and at the same time they were a mess and it affected my life.

    1. I find that only people with good motives worry about being a burden. They are thinking about others first, before thinking of themselves.

      Folk with bad motives don't worry about being a burden... even though they are. They will tare up the lives of other people without a second thought. How unfortunate and sad is that...

      Honor thy mother and father...

      You too are foreshadowing a conversations week post, my dear :)

  7. It's nice to know that your sister is beginning to realize that she doesn't have to deal with this. She has made more than enough attempts and she can't force anyone to love and respect her. It's time to move on.

    1. Chele, you are a little older and a little wiser than me. I think those realizations come with age.

      She makes attempt after attempt after attempt. I told her, give our mother a couple of weeks or a month and she will come back around to talking to her.

      But my sister said something interesting... "Things are going to be on my terms from now on".

      Now, I am not sure what that means. But some of the stuff my sister is saying lately after this huge grandma fiasco has me a bit O_o. Realization seems to be kicking in with a vengeance. I will get more into that in these sets of posts.

  8. Sigh I can relate to your sister struggle with the strain of a mother daughter relationship. The talk/emails that I exchange with a wise person :) really help me and others that I know that are struggle with the mom things. It's her not me. I still have to find the full balance between

    I just hollered at -----> If someone would've hollered "Ceeeeeeeeliiiiiieeee!", I do beleive I woulda hollered "Yes, Mister!"

    1. Ah yes... took me a minute but we have had some serious convos... I too am finding my balance. I think that is a lifelong effort.

      Man. It was so HAWT out there with that sun beaming down. And imagine, our ancestors had to pick cotton from sun-up to sundown. I was ret to go after 30 minutes in that hot sun! Had me feeling like I was back in Color Purple days!

  9. Finding the strength to know you can't change others and trying to please others can be futile. Learning to please yourself in time teaches you to deal with folks with a long-handle pole even if it is family. But a parent makes it so much harder.

  10. Anonymous6:04:00 PM

    Man oh man...that mother daughter dynamic is sooo difficult.... One of the reasons I never wanted a daughter...

    You 2 are blessed to have each other to talk things out....

    Dee in San Diego

    1. It sure is a difficult dynamic. I hope my sister can figure it all out. I threw in the towel years ago.

      I am blessed to have my sister. She is one of the best people I know.

  11. I hit that wall with my father. It gets to the point where you have to love folks from a distance if necessary. I told him that,if he kept up the abuse, he'd never have to worry about me again...ever.

    1. I don't know, Ma. How long can one take the abuse? And should we be taking it?

      Just tough all around.

  12. I want to take the kids there next time they come with me!!!

    Sometimes you just have to love folks...from far off.

    1. Hey Play Mama! The farm is not too far away, about 30 minutes. I think they will love it. Strawberries and Blackberries are $2.10 and $2.40 a pound respectively. I think the kids would LOVE it. I know I did!

      Yes, I love folks from afar. Way afar. I don't have the patience I should have, I suppose.

  13. We have a strawberry patch in Henry that we can pick.

    I hate Kentucky has to go through it. I know the lack of family time/togetherness has been an issue with you in the past as well. Even though my fam keep mess up, we always nip it in the bud with each other. It is usually someone's perception that is different from the other's intention.

  14. Anonymous8:19:00 AM

    I use to love the U pick...but now I am lazy. :)

    I need to go to the farmers market..but more importantly I need to cook more. I end up only cooking about 1 time a week or so.

  15. I don't like no type of berries. O loves berries. I need to see find out if we have berry farms. I bet he would love that.

  16. Anonymous6:20:00 PM

    I pray your sis can get past all this. Its sad when good people have to deal with so much hurt. I wish we had pick it farms around here, it looks like fun. Mary


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