So where do I begin with this one…..Let’s see, a long time ago, okay well in September (which feels like a long time ago to this farm wife) Vermont was having an amazing wild blackberry season. I was hearing about it from everyone but really truly could not find the time to pick some. The stories were coming into the farmstand that people were picking buckets and buckets full of big beautiful wild blackberries this year! Well in the farmstand we sell our vegetables, meat, milk, eggs and maple syrup but we have also played around a little with buying in other local, quality products.
Last year we put in 600 blueberry bushes but they take a few years to mature so this year we bought blueberries from this great 13-year-old neighbor boy to sell in our farmstand…but I digress this story begins with blackberries, not blueberries. So one day I come home from running errands and my farmer tells me he bought some frozen blackberries for us and the fellow was coming back with some fresh ones to sell in the stand. Well I immediately wanted to know how much he paid and how much we were going to charge and how many blackberries and who? were we buying them from?
Well my farmer quieted me down and told me this really nice couple came in and that they were pretty poor and living on disability and they had picked so many blackberries and thought they could sell them somewhere so they stopped by the stand. I started to balk at the price and he hushed me again telling me what hard work it is picking blackberries and now nice this couple was. He is such a bleeding heart and so kind. I love that about him.
So they came back with fresh blackberries and we sold them for them throughout the remainder of the season. They really were nice and so earnest. I would get skeptical every once in a while when blackberries would just appear in the stand without checking in with me but Rob (my farmer) always just reminded me how excited these folks were to earn a little money picking blackberries. And just for the record they were so delish.
Well fast forward to the middle of October and the stand is pretty much done except pumpkins. My farmer and one of our super duper awesome homeschooled neighbor boys Josh, who works for us on occasion and I were out in the field planting garlic when a car pulls into the farmstand and someone starts walking out into the field to see us. It was blackberry guy.
Well he walks up to us and says ” Rob, can I talk to you in private” very serious like. I, being the modern feminist type of farm wife ( lol) say to Josh “What! was that all about!” and he is starting to giggle a little. It was bizarrely funny and serious. So my farmer and blackberry guy go walking off through the field toward the farmhouse while Josh and I keep planting and my mind is just burning up trying to figure out what on earth blackberry guy wants to talk to my farmer about!
Well my farmer comes back and immediately starts planting garlic again (he’s amazing like that, so efficient!) Well I am DYING to know what just transpired and Finally am about to burst ” What did he want?” I let out. ” He needed to borrow some money.” my farmer says. I was so shocked. Never in my life had someone we spoke to maybe 10 times ever and didn’t know their last name, phone number anything about them come up to me and asked me to loan them some money! Well my dear farmer lent him $30 bucks no questions asked. He said he figured if he doesn’t intend to pay he’ll probably never show his face at the farm again. Well we wondered at that loan for a few weeks, mixed between sadness for such poverty, gratefulness at our own blessings and wonder at how desperate blackberry guy must have been and how hard it must have been to ask. We also wondered why he asked us? and of course in the back of my mind nagged the idea that his intentions may not have been pure (Hey! I’m only human!). But the money was lent and we hoped that it had helped.
Well I came home from errands this week and my farmer tells me” It’s been a busy morning around here, I sold a couple hundred dollars worth of hay, oh and there’s $30 bucks on the counter.”
“What’s the $30 for?”
“He stopped by to pay his debt.”
And there on the counter lay a Christmas card with $30 inside and a simple thank you.
We had all but forgotten 2 months ago that we had loaned $30 to a stranger. Because really even with all my balking at the time $30 wasn’t even close to the end of the world to us. But to him it was a big deal. And I am so grateful. For our many blessings. That my farmer was so generous in the moment. That honesty and integrity meant something to blackberry man. That I have never had need that badly that I had to ask a stranger for $30.
What a timely reminder of kindness, those in need, integrity and the good of man kind.
Here’s to next years blackberry season!