Our Word for 2012: HUCKLEBERRIES

Dear Mom,

Years ago, when I was teaching the play THE NIGHT THOREAU SPENT IN JAIL to my high school English students, you weren’t all that excited about the Transcendentalist philosophy, but you had two favorite parts of the play.  Henry David Thoreau was in jail for refusing to pay his taxes, and he shared a jail cell with a young man named Bailey.  Bailey couldn’t read or write, so Thoreau taught him to write his name in the dust of the cell floor.  You loved that scene.

Your second favorite was when Thoreau talked about rights:  every human being had the inalienable right to snore, he said…provided it did not interfere with the inalienable right of another human’s ability to snore.  You laughed at that, saying you were going to quote that to Dad.

My favorite Thoreau story comes from the time when Thoreau’s friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson, was very busy traveling and lecturing,  so Thoreau went to help with the chores on his farm.  One sunny day Thoreau took Emerson’s son Edward on a berry picking adventure in hopes of gathering enough huckleberries for a pie.  With the exuberance of a child, the young boy ran to show Thoreau how many berries he’d picked.  Edward fell, the berries spilled everywhere, and the boy felt clumsy and embarrassed.  Thoreau, in true form, assured the boy that nothing was wasted.  What Edward had done was brilliant; he had scattered berries that might someday seed more and more huckleberries.

Nothing is wasted, not when a pail of berries is spilled, or when we make honest mistakes like forgetting names or details, and it’s not even a waste of time when we spend much of our day napping in a recliner.  Everything has a time and a place, Mom, and nothing is really wasted, not if we view it with a grateful attitude.

So this will be our word for 2012, Mom:  HUCKLEBERRIES.

It will be our reminder to look for the value in each experience.

Happy New Year, Mom.

Love, Marylin






Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, huckleberries, lessons about life, memories for grandchildren

18 responses to “Our Word for 2012: HUCKLEBERRIES

  1. Beautiful, resilient, humorous and oh so wonderfully true. HUCKLEBERRIES! It’s the news in this New Year!
    I love this reflection.

  2. Thanks, K. Especially for writers, HUCKLEBERRIES can be our code word, especially for writer’s block and rejections. Surely there will be something good in the obstacles and setbacks!

  3. That’s really lovely. Thank you for “Huckleberries.”

  4. Doc

    Beautiful! I am going to confiscate your – or Thoreau’s – idea and shout “huckleberries” whenever I find the value in an experience. But “nap” needs no such word. It is a valuable experience all its own.

  5. Beautiful, Marylin. Makes me feel better about the three days I just lost to a stomach flu! Happy New Year!

    • Now that’s a real challenge. Well, maybe not, I guess. Especially if you’re very grateful that it’s over, and you don’t need to explain what you learned from the experience. Stay flu-free in 2012!

  6. I’m happy that others also see the positive in EVERY experience. I’ll admit that sometimes it is difficult, but it CAN be done. 🙂
    Love the Huckleberry story…perhaps we need to make a bumper sticker that says: Huckleberries…it will be the code word for knowing there will be a rainbow before it appears.
    Joy and Peace and Health to you for 2012.
    All the best,

    • Thank you, Vivian and Doc, and all the best to you both in 2012. I met you both separately during the contest, and I hope you don’t mind me responding to you collectively. Doc, while you and I realize a nap is anything but a waste of time, for my 93-year-old dementia-ridden mother, multiple naps lasting most of the day are interpreted very differently by different people. So I return to the Huckleberries code, and hope that something good–like sweet dreams and memories–happen during those naps. Vivian, I’m still smiling at your proposal for a bumper sticker. But other drivers read them so fast. Do you think they’ll get confused and wonder if Huckebee (sp?) is running for president?

  7. Trevor Mosher

    Marylin – this story reminds me so much of grandma and you….and your daughter (my wife) and your grandchildren (my kids)….you are all very much Huckleberries….I guess that is why we men love you all so much….. 🙂 Great story, and you do such a good job writing it…..I really enjoy reading (or hearing) all you blog stories……Great Job!!!

  8. Aw, Trevor, you are so sweet.
    You’re very much a Huckleberry, too. ;=)
    Really, though, thank you.

  9. Jim from the Rockies

    Thanks for the “Huckleberries” story, Marylin. Well done. Your stories inspire in so many ways.

    My favorite huckleberry is Huckleberry Finn. Huck intentionally threw all his “huckleberries” away. You may remember Huck thought he had lost his soul forever when he said, “All right, then, I’ll go to hell,” and tore up his letter to Miss Watson (Chapter 31). Turned out to be just the opposite. Huckleberry’s decision to go against the mores of his time by helping the runaway slave Jim stay free sowed the seeds of right thinking for generations of young readers to come. This boy Huckleberry forever reminds us all to judge a person for his/her character, not race nor station in life. And doing what is right may sometimes seem like we have scattered our prized huckleberries all over the ground for no return, or worse.

  10. Wow! Will you write my next blog? This is wonderful. One word–Huckleberries–and we have Henry David Thoreau AND Mark Twain, and the classics.
    Thank you, Jim.

  11. Ah, what a great story. Huckleberries aplenty for us this year!

  12. Amen to that.
    My mom has always been the Pollyanna in our family, and she didn’t even know about the Huckleberries Code. It was always just part of her personal code.
    In 2012, call me Pollyanna Jr. Mom will still do it better than I will, but I’ll try my best!

  13. What a wonderful reminder. And such a happy word and visual to go along with it. Thanks. 🙂
    I would like to award you the Versatile Blogger Award! I hope you accept. You can read about it here: http://pamelazimmer.wordpress.com/2012/01/04/life-without-pause-getting-caught-up-with-a-new-award

  14. Thank you, Pamela. I’m honored you find my blog deserving of the award.

  15. HI Mor-Mor ,Its your granddaughter. Well i have a few pictures at home. Were having a sleepover on Thursday.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s