December 4, 2008

Gems, colorful gifts of nature

By Cheryl Odden, BHG News Service

What began as a promising venture in 2004 could have been deadly. Mel and Agnes Berg had chosen to be first-time vendors at Garrison’s Dickens Village Festival. And, since the Bergs live in Underwood, a neighboring community, they planned to commute back and forth each day of the three-weekend festival. Unfortunately, the commute proved to be costly; the first weekend, the couple’s van was heavily damaged when they hit a deer on the highway. Though they were shaken, they were not seriously injured. Since their vehicle was totaled, they Bergs resorted to using a different vehicle – an old car – for the remainder of the festival. During the final weekend of the 2004 event, their luck ran out again. Another deer and another damaged vehicle. "In two weeks time, we wrecked two vehicles," Mel said with a broad grin. Even though the second "older" vehicle was uninsured, and the accidents ate up any profits the couple may have made selling their wares, they weren’t discouraged from participating in future festivals. 2008 marks the couple’s fifth consecutive Dickens Festival. Their booth, M & A Gemstones, reflects their decades long love for gems and other natural treasures from the earth.

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