The Strawberry Olympics

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
March/April 2007

Ryan Gallof


Looking back at this I realize how important Chad was and still is to me. I realized that he was no longer Chase’s little brother, and was now my cousin that I loved, no, my brother that I loved.

I always loved going to Atlanta to visit my family. Well, mostly the Sittens. Let me rephrase that, I always couldn’t wait to see Chase. The Sittens are my mom’s identical twin’s family I loved hanging out with Chase, the oldest son. I saw him as an older brother more than anything.

My second mom, Aunt Kathy, suggested that we go strawberry picking at the largest strawberry farm in Atlanta.

“It’s the biggest one in Georgia,” Chase stated.

“Yay!” Chad shouts in joy and remembrance of his previous times there.

“Sure I’ll go,” I said.

That’s when my mom starts giving out orders.

“OK, you get the sunscreen, you get the baskets.”

“Mom, they give you baskets there.”

“Oh, OK, never mind,” she said, sounding disappointed that she was incorrect, like a child on Christmas without gifts.

Then she forgot that disappointment and we were all happy to go.

I jumped in the back of the van right next to Chad. All he could talk about was how much fun we were going to have.

“We’re gonna eat as many as we can. We’re gonna see who can get the most in a minute, who can eat their whole basket the fastest. We’ll call it, the Strawberry Olympics,” Chad said so proudly to think of the name.

The Strawberry Olympics picking up fruits

They were strawberries, decadent and juicy. At that moment I knew I was ready to compete

“Wow, that sounds so boring. Why would somebody think of something that boring?” Chase mentioned like he knew everything.

He didn’t.

Once we arrived there and decided what game was first, we got our buckets and began picking. I decided that I was going to ignore Chase and finally side with Chad. Chad and I were going to coalesce for the first time. I was new to siding with Chad, but what Chad said in the car sounded like there was nothing more fun in the world.

“Dude, I’m leaving you kiddies. I’m not gonna play your stupid games. See ya,” he yelled across the farm.

Chase went to go on and do his own thing.

At first I leisurely picked strawberries. It was a warm-up for the games. I went to put the first strawberry in my mouth and I had this mouth-watering sensation. It was like all the colors of the world were blurry and all I could see was a strawberry and picture how good that tasted. They were strawberries, decadent and juicy At that moment I knew I was ready to compete.

“OK. Let’s see who can fill up their basket first?”

“Fine with me. I just don’t want you to cry when you lose,” I exclaimed, assured of my victory.

I ran down the rows of strawberries picking as many as I could. I looked over just to see Chad doing the same three rows down. My confidence grew smaller every time I looked over, but I knew I could come through. Just at that moment I heard…


Chad had beaten me. I was upset for the loss but I kept my head up high for the next event.

“Now it’s my turn to pick the event,” I said, knowing that I had to pick an event that I knew I could win, otherwise I would be down two to zero. That was a margin I couldn’t overcome.

“Let’s see… How about whoever can eat the most strawberries in one minute. You up for the challenge?”

“Let’s see who’s crying after this one.”

“Ready… Set… Go!”

The minute had started and I was eating away I watched the clock carefully to make sure I was going to pace myself to not get too full and not be able to keep going. Then I glanced over at Chad. I saw he dropped one on his shirt and the juice from the bottom of the bucket was leaking all over his pants. I burst into laughter.

“Ha ha, Chad!!!!” I couldn’t help but laugh at him not noticing that he looked like a giant, red, strawberry himself.

Once he realized how much I was laughing he couldn’t help but laugh. By this time the look on my face just made laughter and joy explode into Chad. I think he blew a bubble with his nose. He just couldn’t control himself. (At that age everything was funny.) We both simply lay there with not a care in the world about who won. Now it was simply about having a great time.

The Strawberry Olympics basket full of strawberry

We decided that the games were no longer needed to have fun. Even though Chase said that the games were dumb and we actually only finished one event he still wasn’t right. So then we just sat there and enjoyed each other’s company.

“I’m so glad you could come down.”

“I know, usually we can only come during the holidays but I’m glad I got to come in the summer,” I said, just happy to be near my family.

“C’mon guys,” Aunt Kathy shouted as a signal to get us all in the car.

“Oh man!” we all yelled back.

We then all followed her to the car and thanked the owner of the farm as we left.

“I got the back seat,” I yelled, hoping the louder I yelled the better chance I have of getting it.

“Fine, I got shotgun,” Chase stated in protest.

As Chad and I settled in the back of the car I knew Chase was going to send a wisecrack my way

And he did.

“So how was the Strawberry Olympics?” he says in a baby voice.

“It was so much fun.”

“Yeah, we had a great time. Sorry you couldn’t join us… not,” Chad throws an insult at his older brother.

Chase sits, disgusted that he doesn’t have a comeback. Chad and I just sit in the back of the car so happy that we could do something this fun.

“Dude, we should ditch Chase more often,” I said.

“Ha ha, yeah man.”

Chad and I just ramble on and on about how much fun we had. It was one of the greatest eye-opening experiences of my life. Not to mention one of the most fun. We continued to laugh and play in the back of Aunt Kathy’s car until we got back to his house.

This one moment in time then, was only a fun outing. Now this moment speaks to my heart. I now realize how important Chad is. Now I don’t just have one brother in Chase but two with Chad.

The Strawberry Olympics Ryan Gallof

Ryan Gallof, 13
West Chester, Ohio

The Strawberry Olympics Rebecca Dutta

Rebecca Dutta, 13
Fremont, California

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