Summer, 1990-something, neon-coloured nylon shorts on and scrunchies holding back sun-bleached hair. My grandma has a raspberry patch and it’s teeming with red berries. My sister and I spend a month here, in the Ottawa Valley, each summer. The cousins compete for the largest fruit, crowing over how bright and sweet each berry is.
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the Ottawa Valley accent, but if you haven’t, I’ll tell you this — you don’t pick berries in the Valley. You pick burries. Razzburries, blackburries, and yes, blueburries. Pickin’ burries weaves through all of my childhood memories,