Monday, December 28, 2009

the old man friend.

i watched up for the first time last night - quite possibly the sweetest movie i've ever seen. it reminded me of a story i haven't had the chance to tell yet...and seeing as we are getting close to a new year, now is as good a time as any.

ever since i was little, i've had a fondness for little old grandpas. i just think they are so sweet and cute. even the grumpy ones (in fact, they might be my favorite.) when i was working out at the farm, i had all kinds of old men that would come out to pick berries. a handful of which were my favorite. but there was one old man in particular that i loved the most. to this day, i still don't know his name. but i remember everything about him, as if i had a picture of him. he drove a maroon ford pick-up, his bucket weighed one pound and he would come out every day and pick 12-13 lbs of strawberries. he always wore a hat, he had square glasses and was missing several fingers due to a lawn mowing accident. i adore him.

there was one summer, when i was about 13 or 14, he didn't come out to pick at all. not once. i was heartbroken, afraid he had passed away sometime during the year. heartbroken that i might never know what happened to him. so the next year, when i saw his maroon pick-up drive up on the first day, i ran out to him to give him a huge hug. he had gotten sick and was still pretty weak, but he continued to refuse my help. quite possibly the cutest thing about him - he never let me carry his full bucket, not even that year.

the last summer i worked, we said our goodbyes. talked about what my plans were. talked about him being excited his daughter was moving home. and promised to pick together soon.

in june, i took cash and julie to go strawberry picking. i had just spotted a huge strawberry just up the way, when out of the corner of my eye i spotted a familiar hat bobbing along. i dropped my bowl right then and ran 3 rows over to him.
"you're not picking very fast."
without skipping a beat, he said, "you could help me, you know."
"do you remember me?"
he looked up at me and said, "of course i remember you, sarah."
i almost cried. we talked about my getting married and having cash. and about how much he missed his daughter now that she moved back to bend. it was the happiest i had been since dad's accident.

in a year full of never ending change, it's the small constants that are the most comforting. knowing that on any given day during the summer he's out there picking into the same bucket he's been using since i was 8, makes me smile. i hope i see him again soon.

and to my old man friend, where ever you are - keep on picking.


  1. Awww, Sarah. That brought tears to my eyes. :)

  2. That is a lovely story!
    The one thing I really liked about helping Mom pay people during strawberries was the little old Mexican men who would wear suits under their rain gear to pick. They would take off the rain gear, put on a nice hat and come get paid. Made my day.

  3. sniff sniff :) that was a fun day. little old men are the cutest. i bet you made his day too.