Time Again (At Last) for Strawberries

Strawberry season, in my family, is a religious thing. We pick strawberries in late June every year, all together, no matter what. The day starts early with old tee shirts and stained shorts. We slather on sunscreen and my mother always wears her old pink bandana cap—the one from the 70s with the pink and white tye-dye and the tiny beak of a brim. We pick up Genie, my mom’s best friend, at the coffee shop, grab a cup and drive out to the fields. We bring the stained green quart containers from last year—yes, my mom saves them—and we check in with the girl under the white popup tent to get five wooden flats. We pick until our fingers are stained and our lips are red and we are practically sick with stolen berries, but my mother makes sure we get forty quarts at the very least to bring back. The drive home is quiet; we all know the hard work is ahead. At the kitchen counter we lay out our haul and everyone takes their spots. My father pulls the greens from the berry heads, my sister