The eight children in the neighborhood had been on a woodland adventure. They had enjoyed berries on their trip because there was purple juice on their mouths, hands and clothes. At first I thought they had enjoyed a few blackberries. But, the purple was too bright and the stain too deep. With horror, I realized they had probably discovered the pokeberries along the creek bank.
They took me to the berry patch, and I knew for sure we were going to need some medical assistance. I had heard that pokeberries were poisonous, and they were not to be eaten. I sat the children on the couch like a bunch of crows on a power line. They were crying and promising never to eat wild berries again. We called the doctor. He advised ipecac to induce vomiting and save lives. One by one the children took their ipecac as they cried out: “We are going to die.”
The medication worked on all but one child. It worked on him as he was attending Wednesday night services at his church. When the fathers arrived, they went to check the berry patch. They reported the berries were elderberries and EDIBLE.