The Feathered Nest

Poem #4: The Berries

The summer I graduated college was a crazy and amazing time. I just finished student teaching and was preparing for my  late July wedding. Case and I had our first apartment together, a wonderful spot in an old gristmill in Ashland, NH. Several friends had also relocated one exit south of our little college town. We developed a habit of meeting several times a week at The Common Man in Ashland. If you’ve never been there it is truly a great bar. It is cozy and welcoming. Lots of warm wood, plush seating areas, and irreverent antiques. That year, we claimed an area of the bar, dubbed “The Berries” because of a large vintage sign that hung on the wall, as our own.

Beginning a career, and for Case and I a marriage, can be overwhelming and scary. We were so lucky to have friends to share that adventure with and a local establishment that treated a motley band of recent college  grads as revered customers.

We’ve all gone off in different directions now, but I know we all look back at this time with deep nostalgia. Our friend Colleen was often the ring leader of these outings. She was and is one of the warmest and most fun-loving people I know. This poem is  a thank you for sponsoring me in the 826 Valencia fundraising event. Thanks, Coll.

The Berries

for Colleen Marshall

by Sandee Bisson


Sun slips out of sight

papers are tossed on hand-me-down tables

pinching “grown up” shoes tossed aside

slip into worn denim and LL Bean boots

clomp on down the street

through the door, up the spiral staircase.

Familiar faces await

drinks appear, no need to order

the days adventures recounted

triumphs and worries

the exhaustion of creating a career, making a life

rents, loans, bills, relationships, marriages

new responsibilities, bewildering and complex,

become manageable

when paired with a white chocolate martinis,

shared veggie burgers,

crispy fries,

and laughter.