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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Under the bridges


Until I was ten or eleven, the forty feet of our back boundary was marked by a raspberry hedge. The same raspberry canes marked the back boundary of our neighbor, Mrs. Smith, except she told us she poisoned hers, and little children who ate hers would die.

We picked quarts and quarts of berries for our mother, and any mother whose kid would stand for half an hour, picking berries into a container. More than a few of Mrs. Smith’s berries went into containers, on the off chance a sibling would be poisoned.

There were raspberries on our cornflakes, raspberry crumble, and the very best, raspberry jam.  Dad loved raspberries. He ate them one at a time, savoring them and swallowing them. He seldom ate raspberry desserts, and never put jam on his toast or ice cream. I remember him pushing away a dessert one night. “Damn! They’re under my bridges.”

Now that was something to ponder. A dad who could wiggle his ears, lift one eyebrow at a time, and pull off his thumb also had bridges. A look around the dining room revealed no bridges, and so it was a mystery for another day.

When dad built the garage and drive along the back line he moved the raspberries on the hill, and there were plenty for everyone to pick. Time went on, I grew up and left, assumed responsibilities, moved into my thirties and found myself asking my dentist what he was talking about. “You have two baby molars with no permanent teeth beneath. You’re very fortunate to keep them this long!”

Within five years I had my first bridge and the second another five years later. More than a few things wander under them, but raspberry seeds are the worst.  I suspect my dad never chewed a raspberry; I bet he extracted the juice and swallowed the pulp, a raspberry food mill, as it were.

Phil, my dentist, gave me a complimentary Zahn’s bridge cleaner and told me to buy more at the drug store. A nice product that also does a great job of threading serger needles. My favorite little tool now, for pursuing the errant raspberry seed, is a little green Gum brush. I’ve littered an acre of landfill with used up and bent up little Gum’s, with no regret. I am sorry that for all the technology dad lived to see, bridge cleaners eluded him.




23 comments:

  1. Mmmmmm...raspberries. Fresh raspberry pie with a lattice top. What memories. I can smell and taste it now.

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  2. I thought you would say that you all stayed away from Mrs. Smith's berries. It's much funnier and more interesting to read the unexpected.

    Love,
    Janie

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  3. Raspberries are one of my most favourite fruits - and worth a little inconvenience. Or even quite a lot of inconvenience.

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  4. Are you talking those wonderful black raspberries that grow wild or those more benign red raspberries that are more like a perfume? Personally, I'd spend hours picking the wild ones (so much more flavor), although we grew the red ones (and they were SO perishable) to sell. Makes me salivate for a real honest-to-goodness raspberry pie... even if I do get the seeds stuck in my teeth (my honest-to-goodness genuinely my own teeth).

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  5. The unexplained statements that rolled off our backs as children.
    I remember getting very annoyed with my family because they were laughing at me when I asked how on earth a pin could be mightier than a sword. I don't know if anyone ever set me straight.

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  6. When I was young we would picked raspberries in the woods. I remember a neighbor wanting to buy mine. I refused politely to sell them, thinking I most certainly was not going to let anyone else eat MY raspberries.

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  7. I enjoyed that story, I remember my grandmother and her friends refusing to eat berries in company because the seeds always ended up under her dentures but in private she would take them out and enjoy the fruit with seeds.
    Merle.........

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  8. Raspberries under the bridge are almost worse than poison ones. Yes, I use bridge cleaners to clear out my raspberry trolls. ;)

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  9. I loved the part of picking a few of Mrs. Smith's raspberries in hopes of poisoning a sibling :) Took me a minute to get your dad saying they were under his bridges, but then thought of teeth. That would be painful I do think!

    betty

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  10. Blueberries are big here. I like all berries.

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  11. My favourite fruit...but not as pesky as flax seeds.
    Jane x

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  12. I enjoyed eating them off the bushes at my friends house growing up. Still enjoy them but have not picked them since I was a kid.

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  13. and they do feel like the picture you added-under the bridges, but I will continue to eat them, use the serger threader and Gum brush..what's a little pain for so much gain???

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  14. Thank you for this information. I had no idea things could get under bridges. I don't have one, but am saving for one and should have enough $ by next year for the bridge and two crowns, one either side.
    I'll have to make sure I get explicit instructions from my dentist on caring for this. There'll be no raspberries in my future.

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  15. Mmmmm raspberries! Due to an accident when I was elevenish, I've had false teeth since that age and I still love my raspberries. Yum.

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  16. Hari OM
    We were a big berry family too and as mother had full sets of falsers from her late twenties, it was a common sight after toast and the home made jams to see seeds being sought; oh the sound of clattering 'plates' and the sight of shifting jaws. No way was she missing out on those berries though! You'ver triggered lots of memories with this one Joanne...&*> YAM xx

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  17. oh I do love raspberries those seeds get stock in teeth too.but the raspberries are so good for you, can't believe someone would poison the berries to poison children

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  18. While I've had plenty of problems with my teeth after an accident at 16 which killed and shattered four, chipped two others and cracked others which would break many years later, I still have all my teeth even if a lot of them are just nubs with crowns. One loose one though. Been loose for years. I've kept it far longer than the dentist predicted.

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  19. I love raspberries and eat them like your dad did, not because I have bridges but because I have fragile teeth with lots of fillings and the seeds ALWAYS get stuck if I chew :)

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  20. The colour, the fragrance, the taste and the texture of raspberries - all so delightful!

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  21. Mmmmm now you have me hungry for rasberries

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  22. I had 2 baby teeth with no replacements in the wings. At almost 60 I still have one. The opposite is now a very expensive implant. And the baby tooth hurts once in a while and everyone hoots, "There is no root left there", still hurts.

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  23. i have a terrible weakness regarding raspberries myself

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