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The Year the Huckleberries Failed

The Year the Huckleberries Failed

huckleberriesIn this great state of Montana
We have the finest in the West,
And above all the other things,
I like Huckleberries best.

They make the very choicest jam
And most delicious pies,
They have stored up lots of flavor,
Beneath Montana’s sunny skies.

Most every year you can find some,
‘Though you may have to search awhile,
But if you like them as well as I do,
You will walk many a mile.

But there was one year I can remember,
When it rained, and snowed, and hailed,
Then froze, to cap the climax,
That year the huckleberries failed.

We searched high and low, far and wide,
But couldn’t find a single berry,
In all those patches, where in other years
We could pick all we could carry.

There were many long, sad faces,
There were tears in many eyes.
For everyone had been looking forward,
To those luscious, juicy pies.

There was mourning in every cabin
And all business was curtailed.
For no one had the heart to work,
The year the huckleberries failed.

Some had a quart or two,
Left from the year before.
They guarded them with a shotgun,
And put padlocks on every door.

They valued them above gold nuggets,
Wouldn’t have traded for the ‘crown jewels’,
For turning down some offers,
They were called thickheaded fools.

One man traded a quart of berries
For a brand new “Cadillac”,
Then after he thought it over,
Tried his best to trade back.

Some folks who made their living,
Picking berries for to sell,
Came back from their searching
With their nerves all shot to hell.

All the wild birds and beasts,
That dine on huckleberries,
Came down from the mountains
And ate all the chokecherries.

That also was an election year
And the ones who won the race,
Promised to bring the berries back,
The rest were in disgrace.

But sad to say, the winners
Fell down upon the job,
At making good their promises,
They sure did play hob.

Mothers tried to quiet their babies,
But it wasn’t any use.
For they one and all demanded,
Good old huckleberry juice.

It was sad to see the little tykes.
They were so wan and weak.
When one feed of huckleberries,
Would have put a dimple in each cheek.

It’s been many, many years now,
Since Montana was assailed
By all the worst elements of nature,
The year the huckleberries failed.

The preachers in all the churches,
Prayed to the “Almighty One” on high,
But they couldn’t get an answer
And they couldn’t tell us why.

The Indians held big powwows,
They called on their “Great Spirit” in the sky.
Their medicine man whooped and chanted.
They sure did make a try.

There was wailing in all the lodges
In every teepee and every shack,
But I guess the ‘medicine’ wasn’t working,
For it didn’t bring the berries back.

There is a moral to this story,
Gained from all those bitter tears.
When there is a big crop of berries,
Pick enough for several years.

If I live to be a hundred,
I’ll remember the hardships that prevailed
For everyone in Montana,
The year the huckleberries failed.
KB, 1968, Scribblings from a Hermits Pen


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