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Plano, Texas, United States
The Book, The Burial, by R. Penman Smith is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and directly from Tate Publishing. The Burial is a Spiritual Thriller with a dark twist and a redemptive outcome. The story springs out personal experience; ‘write what you know about’. Those who are comfortable with fantasy and are not afraid of the reality of the spiritual warfare inherent in Christian life will love this book.

Imagination is the faculty through which we discover the world around us, both the world we see, and that other unseen world that hovers on the fringe of sight. Love, joy and laughter, poetry and prose, are the gifts through which we approach that complex world. Through the gift of imagination we have stepped into an ever flowing river where the realm of Faerie touches Middle Earth.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Blueberry Seller

Route 1 hugs much of the shore line along the south east coast of Maine. Here and there small harbour towns are interspersed with stretches of wild woods. Here you will see the aspen, the birch, the red maples and the sugar maples, several types of oaks, the white and red pines, the spruces, balsam fir and others.

It was on one such stretch where the woods crowded close to edge of the road that I began to notice people selling something out of the trunks of cars and the back of pickup trucks. At last I saw a sign. “Bluberrys” it said. I slowed down and pulled over by a weathered beaten old Ford pickup and I got out to take a look.

The berry seller was a stocky individual about my height, perhaps a little taller, but there was something odd, almost menacing about him. He snorted almost like tuning up his voice and addressed me in a growly sort of voice, “Berries?” His little brown eyes narrowed with the apparent intensity of attempted thought.

“How much” I asked?

“Three dollars a pint, five dollars, two pints,” he growled.

The berry seller was immense, at least 400 pounds or more. Black hair sprouted profusely from the neck of his t-shirt. One very hairy arm sported a new tattoo, the smiling image of Smokey the Bear. The arm looked like it had been shaved in order to accommodate the tattoo.

I produced a five dollar bill and he motioned towards the back of the pickup, “Which pints you want?” The berry seller was apparently friendly, even affable, but thoroughly alarming. He looked very much like a bear, he sounded like a bear would if a bear could talk, he smelled like a bear. His feet were stuffed into big black rubber boots, his hands were clad in heavy duty work gloves. His face was clean shaven, but perhaps that isn’t really a good description. His shaving job was a little rough and patchy and left much to be desired. His nose was large, flat, and almost looked like black that had been powdered with mild yellow pollen.

I looked at the tiny blueberries, at least most of them were blue, but scattered among them was a liberal quantity of small leaves, green berries, and broken stems. Stupidly I asked, “Are they washed?”

His large face momentarily glazed over with apparent guilt, or was it just discomfort? “They ain’t got bug sprays on ‘em. Don’t wash ‘em until just before you eat ‘em, they go mouldy. Then he smiled, his honest face reflecting a simple sincerity, almost a yearning to be believed and accepted.

Hurriedly I picked out two pints and he shoved them into a small plastic grocery bag and passed them to me. As we moved slowly away I looked in the rearview mirror. He had taken the glove off of one very hairy hand with long black nails, pulled up his t-shirt to reveal the dense black hair on his belly and was unconcernedly scratching himself.

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