Boysenberry Legacy

Please know that while John and Marti are laid up with Covid, the Catch continues to operate without a hitch. If you should need anything, please feel free to contact any of the following:

Wayne Bridegroom: Associate Pastor,

John Shirk: Minister of Discipleship,

Cynthia Cody Vera: Prayer Ministry Pastor,

Dave Kelley: Vanguard Representative,

Our Catch today comes by way of Pastor Wayne Bridegroom.

Boysenberry Legacy

by Wayne Bridegroom


I grew up on a family dairy in California’s San Joaquin Valley. When the price of milk plummeted in 1963, dad had to get a full time job to sustain us. That meant that he milked our herd of 50 cows in the morning and I milked them in the evening after high school baseball practice/games. Of course, there was no pay. It’s simply what we did on a family dairy.

But the next year I turned 16 and could actually get a paying job. So I started working for our neighbors, the Muller family who grew multiple acres of boysenberries. One might view this account of boysenberries as a parable of the church.

Back then there was a mixture of Mexican and white farm laborers. That first day I earned 90 cents. By the end of the season I may have been up to $2 per day. Hence I was thrilled when Dave Muller asked if I wanted to be among the crew to string the new vines for next year’s crop. Absolutely – a whole $1.25 per hour!

More importantly, however, was the fact that Dave allowed me to take some of those vines home. We ended up with about twenty yards of boysenberries in our quarter acre garden. Ah, the beginning of June – yum, yum!

When Beth and I built our own house (with her dad’s expertise as a carpenter) in ‘76-’77 we made sure to get some of that new growth from my parents. Then our youngest son did the same thing — vines from us for his home in Roseville, just east of Sacramento. Our daughter did likewise for her home in Fresno. Alas, those vines died. So did the vines we took from the house we built when we downsized to lesser square footage nine years ago.

But, there is always good news. We were able to get vines from our youngest son for our new home. Hence, we continue to enjoy those berries every June. My oh my, if you want an absolutely great boysenberry pie — that is one of Beth’s specialties.

But, here’s the point: the berries we now so thoroughly enjoy are descendants from Muller Berry Farm vines going back to 1964. Regardless of the ups and downs throughout church history, the Holy Spirit remains faithful to build the Kingdom of God that Jesus began some 2,000 years ago. Some congregations live on and on. Others don’t. But the Spirit is always about the beautiful work of wooing people to Jesus and building his church. Be encouraged. Not even the gates of hell can prevail against the work of the Spirit. And, when you have a church social, would someone please bring the ice cream and boysenberry pie as you recall this story!

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3 Responses to Boysenberry Legacy

  1. Wayne:
    I want one of Beth’s absolutely great boysenberry pies!
    When in June shall we come down?
    I’ll even bring my own fork!!

    Mmmm, boysenberry pie – one of my faves.
    The aroma. The golden flaky crust. The warm berries slowly melting a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. The sweetness. The satisfaction. Mmmm.
    Store-bought is fine but homemade is best!
    I’ll bet home-grown berries freshly picked and baked into a pie from scratch are the bestest!!!

    When you think about vines planted over 60-years ago, then replanted and transplanted over the decades, and that still provide delicious satisfying fruit to present-day pie-lovers… well, there has to be some sort of analogy or parable or something for Boomers/Mils/Gens in there somewhere!

    Thank you, Wayne, for whetting my appetite!

    “Taste and see that the LORD is good!”
    ~ Psalm 34:8

    Shalom, Peace…

  2. peter leenheer says:

    Bob you make my mouth water. I can taste all you describe. In Holland my grandpa had a small garden plot on the edge of Rotterdam. He had a tool shed with boysenberry vines growing all over them. I remember how we feasted on those when they were ripe.

    When I think of God he too whet’s my appetite and he is always ripe for the picking!

  3. Toni Petrella says:

    Great message of boysenberry vines and the message about Jesus that lives on forever and talking about such great values tying one to another. I have never tasted boysenberries but, I know more about them now than I did before. Glad the kingdom of God is with us forever.

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