Magpie and His Blackberry Pie

by Gene Amondson
© May 2002
image of a blackberry pie

His friends called him Magpie. His mama called him Honey. His mother yelled,
"My Magpie Honey, the blackberries are ripe and we need a pie." He loved this day. He knew if he picked enough berries for two pies, his mama would give him one.

He loved apple pies all winter long, but there was nothing like a real blackberry pie.

Only people that live near Mount Rainier and high mountains can find these little wild blackberries. God made two kind of blackberries, the big ones and the little ones.

The big ones grow high over buildings and barnyards, old cars and fences. They are easy to pick, but not very good.

The little berries are hard to pick. These berries grow around fallen trees, stumps, and old logs and grow in the ashes of forest fires.

They are better, not sweeter but more tart, and then when sweetened make all heaven ring and angels sing.

blackberries Magpie's mother would give him a coffee can with a wire handle to go over his belt so the can cannot fall. Magpie climbed the mountain toward the berry patch with visions of berry pies leading the way.

He was not usually afraid of anything during berry picking time, but big bears have grumpy insides from eating cascara berries all spring. Now they are eating blackberries, gooseberries, elderberries, and blackcaps.

He tells himself they do not have room in their fat bellies for eating berry picking boys, but with each step Magpie keeps one eye open for mother bear and her cubs.

Over the hill Magpie eats his first handful of wild blackberries. They remind him of past summers, when his mama took him to pick blackberries and then baked him a pie. He can taste the sweet juices already.

Suddenly, mama bear appears with a growl and her teeth dripping with berries. Magpie shivers with fright as he falls backwards into the stickers. He feel his pail tip over and half his berries roll under the logs and rocks and into the mountain beaver tunnels.

Magpie freezes, except for his eyes wide with fright that follow mama bear as she gathers her cubs and runs over the hill.

Magpie wants to cry and run home, but he remembers the blackberry pie. With red scratches on his arms and purple bruises on his legs, he hurries and fills up his bucket until it is overflowing with berries.

Soon he is running down the hill with a berry pie smile gleaming on his face, waving to his mama standing in the doorway.

He can hardly wait to help make the blackberry pie. Magpie watched as his mama adds wood to the kitchen stove. Out comes the flour. They mix everything together.

Magpie rolls out the dough and puts it in the pan. He pours in the berries and sugar with a scoop of butter. Mama folds up the crust and makes little bumps all around the edges.

The pie goes into the oven. They wait and wait for almost an hour. The house is full of summer's sweet smells.

When his mama takes the pie from the stove, it is bubbling and running over like all good pies. It begins to drip on the table. Magpie watches his golden brown pie cool on the table.

When his mama leaves the room, Magpie scoops up the drippings with his finger. He loves the purple, red berries.

Just before bed magpie and his mama ate their blackberry pie with spoonfuls of homemade ice cream. Magpie ate and ate, until he felt like a blackberry eating bear. Off to bed went a satisfied boy at the end of a long, summer day.

That night Magpie falls into a deep, deep sleep. He dreams about all the excitement he had from his visit to the berry patch with old mama bear. As Magpie sleeps, he sees the berries still dripping from the pie. In his sleep, he catches the berries in his hands as they drip from the pie.

He grabs a pie tin and watches it turn into a blackberry pie. Soon there are ten pies, then hundreds of pies. He stacks them all over the kitchen, on the stove, and the drainboards and windowsills too. The pies keep coming and coming.

image of a blackberry pie Magpie throws open the window and spins them like frisbees out into the night. The moonlight makes them look like small blackberry saucers in flight.

The pies fly over mountains and canyons and seas, into the village windows and under their doors. As hungry children awaken, they all find a warm blackberry pie. It looks better than oatmeal, bacon and eggs.

The blackberry pies smell more scrumptious than cinnamon rolls, pancakes or grits. Oh, what a delight! Children all over the world are happy because Magpie shares his wonderful, super, wild mountain blackberry pie.

Gene has written an e-book full of pie recipies including Black Berry pie called Gene Amondson's Mt. Rainier Pies

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