The Richards family at the Cram-A-Lot Inn, Mountain, Wisconsin, 1980s

Blackberry Heaven

When I was a kid, my family spent good portions of our summers at my grandparents’ cottage up in the Nicolet Forest of northern Wisconsin. It was a modest retreat: a white 1950s single-wide trailer with a firepit, a small shed, and a wooden sign out front letting you know you’d arrived at the (accurately named) Cram-A-Lot Inn. We fished, we swam, we walked through the woods—and in late summer we picked berries in the locally legendary (and tough to locate) patch known as Blackberry Heaven. 

It was a warm day in an Up North summer 

My brothers and me

Were riding on the folded-down tailgate

Of our daddy’s Grand Marquis 

 

He pulled off by the edge of the forest

And the six of us jumped out

With milk jugs and ice cream pails

For gathering berries up

Momma found the hole in the tree line

And we followed her in

Down a path through a dark, damp thicket

Then the sun poured down again    

Into...

 

Blackberry Heaven

My family and me

Brambles of purple fruit

As far as we could see 

I know your voices   

Even when you’re just out of view    

Blackberry Heaven

Can I stay forever here with you?  

 

Here I am, back again

I’ve been gone so many years    

It’s so much how I remember 

I just wish they were here

I drive down the West Shore Road

Looking for that subtle seam 

The path that can take me back

Into a sweet berry dream

 

After a while, I finally give up 

And watch the darkness fall

What are memories, really?

Was it ever there at all?

 

When our summers are finally over

And we all go home again

Look for me in a clearing in the forest      

A milk jug in my hand

In...

 

Blackberry Heaven

My family and me

Brambles of purple fruit

As far as we can see

I know your voices

Even when you’re just out of view

Blackberry Heaven

Can I stay forever here with you?

 

 

© 2020 Chris Richards / White Mare Music (BMI)