We used to have friends out to our house in Welch for dinner on July 3rd. They’d spend the night in our guest room and we’d go to the parade in Cannon Falls on the Fourth. Sometimes there would be wild black raspberries or mulberries as an ingredient.

They were witnesses at our wedding. My husband and I got married in the chapel upstairs of a church off Summit Avenue in St. Paul. My husband‘s friend who stood up for us remembered being a shepherd in the Christmas pageant in the sanctuary of that church. I’m imagining a vertical gray and brown striped bathrobe as the costume, but that may’ve just been at the church of my own upbringing.

I went out east to Cape Cod with the wife of the once-shepherd in the summer more than half a dozen times after getting married. The first time was the year after her parents died and she wanted to bring home some heirlooms in the car. I was working at the church then and the senior pastor was good about letting me flex my schedule enough to be able to help her drive.

She and I had already gotten together socially a variety of times and places. One meeting spot is a diner off of Highway 52. On a particular occasion, one or both of us were wearing blue jeans and a pink t-shirt. I recall thinking as she came in the door, “I could take a road trip with this woman.”

When I was out there, she’d ask me what I might like to do. One time I said, “Go to church.”

We went to the Episcopal church where her parents have been members. Just a small service in the chapel, not on a Sunday. No music. I kind of hoped somebody‘s cell phone would ring a catchy little tune. Lovely spot. I was intrigued by the signs for “lobster on the lawn.” Might have to try that next time.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

For now, my husband and I are keeping our eyes on the local berries — they seem to flourish in slightly different locations each year.

I believe it’s good to appreciate simple pleasures flourishing where they may.