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Written by Jody Perry
Also - and this wasn't as important -Dad did not trust Gram and Gramps to behave themselves along the way unless they had me with them. Dad said that if they tried to go on their own he would save everyone a lot of time and embarrassment by calling the police and having them arrested before they even left the driveway.
Sal's grandparents are free-spirited and spontaneous and don't set out with the intention of finding trouble but when they take a road trip trouble has a tendency to find them. Neither is good at reading maps so often their route is very creative. On Themis particular road trip, Gramps has no change for a meter and so leaves a note on the windshield stating that he was a veteran who had German bomb shrapnel embedded in his legs and could not walk far; this was pure fiction but it did solve the problem of getting a parking ticket.
As they are taking a dip in the lake to cool off they encounter a young man who goes through the pockets of Gramps' pants, and they realize that they are in an isolated area with no protection. However their tendency to get into trouble also makes Sal's grandparents e citing and fun travelling companions.
It is surprising all the things you remember just by eating a blackberry pie.
At dinner with Phoebe's family, Sal ears blackberry pie for dessert. Sal remembers picking blackberries with her mother on the farm in Bybanks. She also remembers going to see her father in one of the fields after he has constructed a new fence. The next day Sal comes down to breakfast to find a dish of shiny blackberries at her place which her mother has left. Her parents hugged and smooched and it was very romantic. Sal cannot believe how many memories are triggered by the simple act of eating blackberries but the blackberry symbolizes so many of her experiences and connections with her mother.
In the midst of the still morning, with only the sound of the river gurgling by, I heard a bird. It was singing a birdsong, a true, sweet birdsong. I looked all around and then up into the willow that leaned towards the river. The birdsong came from the top of the willow and I did not want to look too closely because I wanted it to be the tree that was singing.
Sal has always believes that the trees singing signifies peace and that everything is the way that it is meant to be. The trees did not sing after her mother left because she was not in a position to hear them, when her soul hurts she cannot hear birdsong. Hearing it at her mothers grave was like a communication from her mother and whenever she hears it she knows that her mom is present.
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