Thursday, 23rd July
“Did you get strawberries?” I asked my partner, Majka.
“Really?” she asked.
I read the label more closely and saw that each container had 2.25 lbs of strawberries, giving us a total of 4.5 lbs. “Doesn’t this seem excessive? One container probably would have done it, don’t you think?”
“Well,” she said reasonably. “There’s 16 kids, plus two teachers, plus you and Elsie, so it’s less than a quarter pound of strawberries per person.”
(My advice to all of you out there who like to win arguments is don’t marry a math major.)
Stubbornly, I persevered. “A quarter pound of strawberries is still quite a lot.”
“I said less than a quarter pound,” she reminded me.
(See what I mean?)
You might be wondering why we were buying strawberries in the first place, and that’s a valid question, so let me answer it now. Quinn’s birthday is on June 29, and on June 29 this year, she was going to camp. I’d asked Mrs. Semin and Mr. Jim if we should bring something to share with the class in honor of Quinn’s birthday, and Mrs. Semin suggested fruit. I thought strawberries were the way to go, being that they are easy to eat (no cutting, chopping or peeling necessary), hence the two monstrous containers in our kitchen.
So on June 29, my other daughter, Elsie, and I showed up in the big field on WSP’s campus at lunchtime, slightly weighted down with what I considered to be excessive strawberries. It was a beautiful day, cool and breezy, especially sitting in the grass in the shade of a big, old tree.
We all sat in a circle and opened our lunch boxes, and after about ten or fifteen minutes, Mrs. Semin gave me the go ahead to put out the two boxes of strawberries. I said something about having a lot of strawberries, and Mrs. Semin smiled and shrugged her shoulders.
By this point, the kids were in more of an oval than a circle, so I opened one huge container of strawberries and put them at one end of the oval and then quickly opened the second container and placed it at the other end. I say quickly, because 16 children (and teachers, let’s face it, you guys too) descended on the strawberries like a pack of strawberry deprived hyenas. If I hadn’t been as fast as I was, I’m sure I would have lost a finger or two.
Stunned, I sat back as the strawberries practically evaporated out of their containers. At one point, Mrs. Semin stepped in and grabbed the almost empty container (this was heroic on her part – there’s no way I would have ventured into the fray) and lifted it up high above her head. She went to the smaller children and distributed strawberries amongst them to make sure they got some, but I’d noticed that although some of them were smaller than the others, they were all feisty, and as far as I could see, I was the only one too afraid to shoulder my way in to get a strawberry. Ten minutes later, after the feeding frenzy was over, only a few, sub par strawberries remained in the containers.
Mrs. Semin and Mr. Jim led the group in singing “Happy Birthday” to Quinn before we packed up and headed back to the classroom. We were bringing Quinn home with us right after lunch, so we bid goodbye to the class and then got into our car.
“Are we going home now, Mama?” Quinn asked.
“Not just yet,” I told her. “We need to stop at the grocery store to get some more strawberries.”
“Mama,” Elsie said, “I don’t think I want anymore strawberries right now.”
“They’re not for you,” I told them. Majka might be smarter than me, but I know how to fight dirty.