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Cam Marston on the Excitement of Blackberry Season

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I’m pretty sure that on the seventh day, after God finished up with all that Creation business, he sat down and had a cup of vanilla Blue Bell Ice Cream topped with freshly picked blackberries. There is nothing better. It’s coming on to blackberry season here in southwest Alabama. About the time this airs, they should be in full force and perfectly ripe.

I took our dog Lucy for a six mile walk this morning to get her sedentary bones some activity and, more importantly, to cruise my secret blackberry spots. Most of the berries are still red but enough were black that I returned in my car and filled up half a pitcher full of them. They’re now rinsed and draining in a colander in the sink. I wore my white Bayou La Batre Reeboks, more popularly known as shrimper boots, so I could wade into the briers without my tearing my legs up. I made lots of noise to let Mr. NoShoulders know I was coming in and please slither away for the few minutes I’ll need to harvest.

I love fresh picked blackberries.

I also love vanilla Blue Bell Ice Cream. And while I have suspicions that Blue Bell changed their vanilla recipe about four or five years ago, it’s still the best mass-produced vanilla ice cream out there. Don’t talk to me about your favorite brand. I’ve tried it and it’s not better than Blue Bell.

I eat my ice cream and blackberries out of a coffee cup with the Vanilla Ice Cream Eaters of America logo on it. VICEA, as it’s known, is an association for people who only eat Vanilla Ice Cream. I am the association president and one of its four members. Our motto: “It comes from Udder space.” I use a long-handled teaspoon and it tastes best eaten in bed with a Frazier rerun on TV. I’ve tested this. You gotta believe me.

My secret blackberry spots are along walking trails, so I had a number of people stop and ask what I was doing. I try to act mean and avoid eye-contact so they’ll think I’m unfriendly and maybe they should just go away but I ended up befriending a husband and wife who were out for a walk and offered them a few to taste. The next thing I know the guy is standing in one of my secret spots filling his hands with ripe berries for his wife to snack on as they walked and I thought, we’ll, I’ll guess I’ll have to take him out.

Blackberries, by the way, taste best with scratches on your arms from reaching into the stickers to pick them. The scratches add to it which is why grocery store berries won’t do. And you’ll know you’ve found one of my secret spots when you stumble on the body of that poor guy who started picking them in front of me. Maybe I’m joking. Maybe I’m not.

I’m Cam Marston and I’m just trying to Keep it Real.

Cam Marston is the Keepin' It Real host for Alabama Public Radio.