A Berry Sweet Reminder

The Valentine's Day gift that turned out to be so much more... 

Posted in , Feb 2, 2011

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I was up to my elbows in chocolate! My goddaughter, Shari, owns The Berry Factory in Sacramento, California, and her mother, Joan, and I were helping with the Valentine’s Day rush of 2010. We’d dipped hundreds of berries, arranged gift baskets and packaged orders to be shipped around the country.

By the end of the day Joan and I were exhausted. Shari didn’t seem fazed. That’s typical Shari. Even when things were hectic I’d seen her give away berries to everybody—parking attendants, mail carriers, hairdressers. “For me?” they’d say, bursting into a smile.  As a thank you, Shari took us out for dinner. But there was a 45-minute wait at her favorite restaurant. “No big deal, there’s another place just up the road,” she said, driving us there. This time we walked right in. While the waitress took our drink orders Shari reached into her tote bag, pulling something out.

“I want you to have these,” she said, handing the waitress a box of chocolate-dipped strawberries.

Boy, will she love those berries! I thought. But the waitress seemed startled. She barely squeaked out a “thank you” before grabbing the box and darting into kitchen.

A few minutes later, the waitress returned with our iced teas. “I apologize,” she said. “It’s just…my best friend and I had a pact to send each other something every Valentine’s Day. She passed away last year and I didn’t know how I’d get through this day without her. Then you handed me that box.” 

“I’m so sorry,” said Shari. “It’s not much, but I hope you can enjoy them.”

“Oh, I will,” the waitress said. “See, every year we always sent each other the same thing: a box of chocolate-dipped strawberries from our favorite store, The Berry Factory.” 


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