The Berry Thought of You

Found at: sdf.org:70/users/xmanmonk/2018-may-13-a.txt

                       The Berry Thought of You

I live in Southern California. Yeah, we actually capitalize "Southern"
because we think of ourselves as a separate entity from the rest of
the state. Kinda weird.

In fact, there are lots of weird things about Southern California. We
have an odd concentration of theme parks here, as if people who live
here can't handle reality and need constant escape. Of course, we have
the original Disneyland (been there many times as a kid when I figured
out how to break in), we have Magic Mountain, and we have Knott's
Berry Farm.

Knott's has an odd history. The theme park is built on the grounds of
what was once an actual berry farm. Mr. Knott fancied himself the
inventor of the Boysenberry. In fact, Knott's still advertises
themselves as the inventors of the Boysenberry.

And it's this point that I'd like to argue. You see, Mr. Knott did not
invent the Boysenberry. The berry was invented by a guy named Rudolph
Boysen, and hence the name. It's actually a cross of four other
berries (there's a wikipedia page on it if you're interested).

The story goes that Mr. Knott volunteered himself on a fact-finding
mission about the berry, joining a Department of Agriculture guy on a
trek to northern California (no, it's not capitalized!). Mr. Knott
found the abandoned plants there, and essentially stole them. So you
see, Knott's claim to fame is the STEALING of the Boysenberry, not the
inventing of it.

Having an aggregate berry is an interesting concept, and one of my
favorite berries happens to also be an aggregate, though it's not
actually a berry. It is the Razzleberry. And this one involves no
theft, but a little marketing.

When I was a kid, we watched TV a lot. During the Christmas holidays,
we watched all of the specials, and one of the specials was the Mr.
Magoo's Christmas Carol, a version of Dickens' tale with the
cartoonish twist of Scrooge being blind (or at least severely
near-sighted). At the end of the story, when everyone is gathered at
Bob Cratchit's house for a splendid Christmas meal, they all break
into song about the meal, with Tiny Tim belting out, "...and
Razzleberry Dressing!" at the end of several stanzas.

Just what is Razzleberry Dressing, you ask? Well, it's like Cranberry
Dressing, but with Razzleberries. And what is the Razzleberry? Well,
hundreds, possibly thousands of kids who watched that show wondered
for years. It turns out, there's no such thing as a Razzleberry. Boo.

And then, to the rescue came an enterprising young woman who was not
to have her dreams of Razzleberry Dressing to be dashed on the mere
suggestion of it not existing. She invented Razzleberry Dressing by
mixing two berries, not for breeding, but rather in a bowl.
Raspberries and Blackberries make up the synthetic Razzleberry. She
baked it up in a pie, and thus was born the Razzleberry Pie.

And now, I sit here eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, with
Razzleberry jelly, a delicious synthetic blend that I still prefer to
think of as an actual berry. Perhaps if Boysen were still alive, he
could create one for us.