“It’s the berries!” That is Dad-speak for something that has exceeded his expectations, is an outstanding addition to life, and is usually a gadget of some kind that has endeared itself to my Dad. In the past, it has included:
-A long-handled golf club looking stick that is actually a golf ball retriever because it has a basket on one end and a telescoping extender on the other end. It is used to extract golf balls after they are errantly hit into a water feature on the golf course.
-A cordless screwdriver, kept in his car’s glovebox so that he can take apart furniture or whatever needs disassembling on the go.
-An in-house gas grill they installed next to the fireplace in my childhood home so that Dad could grill chicken and steaks inside on a propane grill with a flume and everything. Probably illegal now, but growing up, I thought everyone had one!
-His home-made mixture of linseed oil, turpentine, and mineral spirits, mixed in thirds, in a mason jar. When applied with an old sock, it cleans, polishes, and moisturizes dry old antiques. He refinished furniture for 20 years after he retired from his general surgery practice. This mixture was a crucial tool of his success.
-An inch thick, wire mesh, car seat pad that allowed air flow between the driver’s back/legs and the vinyl car seat. We took a lot of family car trips in the 1976 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser. He was a brave man to drive his family of six 1000+ miles from Illinois to Vermont on a yearly basis. No doubt there were some heated moments. His dashboard radar detector was also The Berries!
-More lately, Dad has labelled the scooter at Costco that allows him to speed around at 10 times his now slow and measured steps as The Berries! The risers under the couch that raise the height of it enough so that he can get up unassisted are The Berries. He is also calling his new transport wheelchair that brings him back from dinner to his assisted living apartment The Berries. The Bach Rescue Sleep homeopathic liquid melts are The Berries because now he can sleep 6 hours at a stretch. And the bed with the remote control to raise or lower his head is also The Berries!
I envy his enthusiasm and eternal gratitude for the gadgets in his life. He has this way of exclaiming “It’s the berries!” with a tickled shrug of his shoulders and such a big smile that we can’t help but giggle with equal pleasure, just at his pure enjoyment. Last week I helped my parents move from their 4-bedroom spacious home to a 1-bedroom apartment. As their world gets smaller, Dad’s gadgets are no less important to him. And his delight is still pure. I could learn from that!