1964-07-02 - Strawberry Picking with the Gals
Summary: Kara, Vesper, and Clark go strawberry picking. In Jersey
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
kara clark vesper 



Clark Kent gulps hard as he leans down on one knee and inspects the bush in front of him. To his right sits an old ice cream pail full of strawberries. "I think I hit the mother load," he says, mostly to himself and then wonders whether or not Kara could hear him.

The sunshine is about perfect. There are four clouds in the sky and it's warm but not oppressive, which is lucky this time of year. He spies over towards Vesper to see how she's making out.

Kara can absolutely hear it, but she's a little busy trying to figure out what the trick is to picking strawberries. Unlike some people, she didn't end up on a farm when she landed here. Despite her complete lack of skill, though, she at least seems cheerful about the process.

"The ripeness is about what color they are, right, not the size?" she calls to the others, rummaging through the leaves and looking back to her basket. "And we're not supposed to eat them right now?"

Vesper has never seen New Jersey, much less been in it. A new state of mind and a new state for her keeps her quite occupied. The most experience on a farm she has ever professed was Marie Antoinette's model miniature at Versailles. Being on her knees poking around in the soil is a new experience.

Her bucket lacks many strawberries but those picked are uniformly dark pink to red. Any further spots of red or signs of a hungry snail, though, they stay on their plant. Juice stains her fingers after an overripe encounter or sixteen. Who's counting? "I found a hungry slug!" She's well away from that bush where a hungry little bug feasts on its own summer prize. "Were we not supposed to eat them? Oh no."

A pause. The Gallic humour is there, a quick addition: "The strawberries. Not the slug!"

Clark laughs and shakes his head, "No, we can't eat them. They weigh them at the end." He walks over towards Vesper and smiles as he inspects the bug. "Don't they eat escargot where you're from?" he teases. "Gonna need a lot of butter."

"Bugs are full of protein, you know," Kara calls over with a quick smile. "Although…I guess slugs aren't bugs. Technically. Even if they do bug things." She brushes a hand over some leaves, head tilting as she considers the berries beneath them. "I kind of have to admire the business plan here. They don't have to pay people to come and harvest, people actually pay them to come and do the hard work. It's clever."

Glossy hair pulled back under a very sensibly broad hat, Vesper inches along to find another strawberry fully ripened all the way around. She gently picks the fruit by pinching off the stem from the green cap atop. "I do not eat them. Some like the taste. To me, it's all rubber and poor-tasting gum." Like eating erasers in a butter sauce, really. The wrinkle of her nose and mild frown make it apparent of her opinion on escargot.

She smiles up at Clark, anyways. "You will have a bucket and I will not even fill my hat." To be fair her hat could probably hold five pounds, easy. "Is this how most farms work here?"

"She's right, protein is important for building muscles. And inhibiting gag reflexes, apparently," Clark says, giving Kara a wink. "I think part of the reason that strawberries are so expensive generally is the picking process. So, this makes a lot of sense." He shakes his head at Vesper, "Not a lot of farms work this way. But it's a favorite of my mother this time of year. Makes me almost feel like home."

Kara wrinkles her nose at the description of escargot, pushing her glasses up. "I…think I'll pass on that one, thanks," she says with a rueful smile. "But strawberries are good. At least it's a nice day for it," she adds, shading her eyes as she looks up to the sky. "So where did you two meet?" she asks, grinning between the pair.

Vesper drops her strawberry into the bucket, where it lands with an unapologetic thud on plastic. Proof her efforts have not been terribly good. She's a bit picky about the berries and generous with the company. "I thought we would have more chores. Milking, carrying buckets, standing in the mud. This is much better." So says the young woman. She hasn't had a backache being outside for fourteen hours straight for cutrate wages. "I rescued him from the rain in Washington Square Park." The story brings a fair smile to her face at the memory. "We both attend New York University. And you?"

Clark chuckles at the story. It's pretty true, after all. But as she asks about Kara, Clark butts in with his own explanation, clearly going into practiced cover mode. "Kara is my cousin. I don't know if I told you but I was adopted and she tracked me down once the records were unsealed."

"I was super excited about it," Kara grins, adding on to Clark's explanation. "I mean, I found his parents first, and when I found them, they didn't believe me at first, but it turns out we are. So they told me he'd come here, which was funny, because I'd been here for a little bit already and I didn't even know it." She has a strawberry halfway to her mouth when she pauses, reluctantly dropping it into her bucket instead. "We should make strawberry ice cream when we get back."

Vesper smiles back in response. "That's a lovely story and the best of reasons. Was it very long ago?" She stops with the strawberry picking for something much juicier and enriching. Sitting back on her heels is much more comfortable. "You mean here in New York? I can't imagine how surprising it would be to learn your cousin lives around the corner." Not entirely true. Her brother literally marched into her lab out of the blue. The flicker of memory sends her irises into flux, commanding a different shade than they were a second ago. Easy to miss. "Strawberry ice cream sounds delicious."

"Bout what…a week?" Clark says as he looks over towards Kara. "Maybe a bit more than a week," he says, counting back. "We're going to have enough berries here for ice cream, jam, pie, and just eating them raw. I'm probably going to pass some of them out to the guys on my floor." There are only five since it's the summer, so he'll still have plenty.

"About a week," Kara agrees with a nod, shuffling along to the next bit of plant streamers, searching for more ripe strawberries. "It was great news, though. I'd known for a long time that I had a cousin somewhere, but I hadn't been able to search, and then the search took a while and…" She looks over to Clark, smile lopsided. "Then there he was. And it turns out we have a lot in common, too."

"A week!" The news puts her back on her heels. Vesper tips her hat back over her crown so the broad brim shades her face without angling too mysteriously over her face. The natural shade gives way to a thick black band, and the draped ribbon is suitable for a field as much as a garden party. Gallic versatility at its finest is on display. "Tres bien. That sort of news must have been very exciting and heartwarming." For a note of poignancy she also has excitement written all through her statements. "Your hard work surely paid off."

Clark grins over at Kara, returning her lopsided look. "Journalism. Adoration for ice cream. Stunning awkwardness in large social situations." He nods to Vesper, "It was really exciting. I didn't think I had any family out there, really."

"So stunning. I can barely be allowed out in public." Kara chuckles, plucking a few more strawberries and letting them drop into the bucket before she peers down into it to check her progress. "I feel like I'm torn here, because a part of me wants to pick as many of these as I can, but the rest of me knows I'm probably not going to be able to eat a whole bucket of strawberries. Probably."

Vesper shakes her head slightly. "I can't believe you are both awkward. You have been perfectly charming to me." She lifts up one of the leaves to peek under to see whether a heart-shaped fruit exists worth the picking. Maybe worth the tossing to the cousins. "Can you put the strawberries in the frozen cabinet in the refrigerator? They could be kept some way. Jam, maybe. I would preserve them that way or make a shortcake, sorbets. Possibly a good torte with a glaze…" She's betrayed herself as halfway competent in the kitchen.

"See? That's why she's fun to be around," Clark says to Kara after Vesper's comment. "Maybe we can have a strawberry eating contest." He pauses, thinking hard about that one. "Or maybe just preserve them." The thought of that many strawberries isn't a good one.

"A JELL-O mold!" Kara exclaims, lighting up like she's just had the best idea ever. "I saw a recipe for one in a magazine the other day that had crushed up pretzels in it, and cream cheese, and whipped cream, and it looked so good. I bet if you put in fresh strawberries with the JELL-O, it'd be even better." A domestic goddess, she is not. But at least she's happy about it.

"Jello." Vesper puts her fingers to her lips and tries not to laugh aloud. "I have run a few experiments on it. Gelatin?" Her accent is entirely French in pronunciation. Looking to Kara for confirmation, she nods. "That sounds delicious. Let's get these buckets filled and paid for. I have space in my kitchen for making a pie or a dish of Jello. We can figure out how much space we need from there." Dusting her knees off and getting up shoes she's a bit dirty. Nothing terrible. The bucket comes with her. "This was great fun. Thank you for sharing it with me, Clark. Kara."

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