The delicious Vaccinium corymbosum

Nonnie and I picked blueberries a few days ago, at Schartner Farms’ site in Exeter, on the east side of Route 2, across from the large farm stand. Slim pickings.

The great character actor Slim Pickens, left, with actor and singer Rex Allen. The two were paired for a series of Westerns produced by Republic Pictures, in the 1950s. Pickens was born Louis Burton Lindley Jr. in Kingsburg, California. He quit school at twelve to join the rodeo. (google image)

In past years, the rows of blueberry bushes were draped high with plastic netting to keep the birds away. Not so this year, and the birds were more plentiful than the blueberries. The young attendant advised us to pick near the road and avoid the rows closest to her stand. So we did. And, as always, we found that pickers are guided to the rows that have nearly been picked clean. So we looped back around toward the stand and found a row or two that had some promise. But even those weren’t thickly laden with fruit as in the past. It took awhile, but we picked about seven pounds. So good in the morning on Wheaties with almond milk, and, best of all, Nonnie will make blueberry jam.

Vaccinium corymbosum, a summer emblem, seen newly rinsed in our colander. Nonnie's blueberry jam will tease summer through winter.

Slim Pickens. Unforgettable in the final, terrifying sequence of Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Perfect casting. This is an earlier scene. (Note James Earl Jones, in his first movie role, as Lt. Lothar Zogg.)YouTube Preview Image I read online–don’t know if it’s true, but it’s a good story–that Kubrick wanted Pickens for the role of Dick Hallorann in The Shining, but Pickens turned it down, saying that the strain of Kubrick’s endless takes on the set of Dr. Strangelove took too much out of him.

I was never a Rex Allen fan. But I loved Roy Rogers when I was a kid, and grew to like him even more when I learned of his association with the Sons of the Pioneers. This clip is especially fine for a close look at the wonderful violinist Hugh Farr:YouTube Preview Image

Rogers had such a relaxed manner in front of the camera, with a ready, somewhat self-effacing smile. His cowboy hat tilted slightly back from his brow, sometimes revealing a dark Elvis-like curl, moist with perspiration. Well, then: blueberry picking, Roy Rogers, and “nuclear combat toe to toe with the Ruskies.” Go figure.

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3 Responses to The delicious Vaccinium corymbosum

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