|This is a joyful little story, appropriate for all ages. I'm going to review it as an adult story, but it would be easily adapted to a children's story, depending on what you want to do with it. And I think you should try for publication with this one, once you've got it polished up. It's fun, it's got a positive message, and it would look great illustrated. A local paper or magazine would do well, or you could try for a mainstream magazine for women and/or seniors, if you're feeling ambitious. I'm not sure how much of this story is autobiographical, but creative nonfiction shorts are wanted in many publications.
Much of the descriptive language you use in this story is very good, but in some cases you could probably go a little, and think up something more creative.
luscious blue fruits Since we already know blueberries are blue (hmm, actually more purple, now that I think about it), this adjective doesn't add anything. A more unexpected word, perhaps, or simply leave it at "luscious."
she was on the porch before I had time to turn off the engine I love the way you've shown the little girl's eagerness here.
blueberries you had to search around to find This description is awkward and wordy. One adjective could replace it. "Hidden" blueberries would convey the information, but you can probably think of something better.
large white farmhouse Okay, just kind of blah. If you could find adjectives that make the house sound more unique, it would be better.
Jenny and I each grabbed a couple of buckets It would help to indicate that they're grabbing them out of the car. The first time I read it, I assumed there was a stack of them on the ground for people to take.
blueberry bushes casting a blue haze from their heaviness with fruit A lovely image, but the wording is awkward. If I were you, I'd try to reduce this phrase to the least possible number of words, while keeping the image intact.
The sky was a clear blue, and butterflies and bees kept us company. I love this sentence. You've used poetic tools here--alliteration, as well as a nice balance--while maintaining the down-home sound of the narrator's voice.
The rock moved. . . and got bigger. You could slow down just a bit here, to describe the movement that made the gator appear "bigger" in a little more detail. Maybe the muffin-sized rock turned into a cake-sized rock, and then as the muddy water slid off scales appeared. . .
A little more description of Mr. Stiles would help give us a picture of the character. Was he in overalls, or wearing a John Deere cap, or did he smell like sunscreen and mosquito repellant? A couple little details would suffice, whatever you think of that would help make the character memorable.
Mr. Stiles returned with two bags of cold berries. The words "two" and "cold" and "berries" repeat know information. Is there some other way to word the description to put in something more? Were they lumpy, re-used bags with clothespins holding them shut, or purple berry blocks sealed in clear plastic?
Characters & Point of View
This is told from the point of view of an older woman who's not afraid to laugh at herself. I see her as being secure, basically happy, and having a good relationship with her granddaughter. She's also got a great voice. I noticed just a couple places where more of a reaction from her might add something to the story:
In the first two paragraphs, introducing Jenny in a bit more detail would establish the relationship from the start. Giving her age here would get that over with, and help us start to get a picture of her. Gramm is giving her advice, but you could add a bit to let us know to what extent the advice is needed. If you were to add in the second paragraph that Jenny looked Gramm right in the eye with a wide smile when she said this, for example, we'd know something about the girl and the relationship from the start. Or you could give a bit of physical description, so we could see if she's a tomboy or a girly-girl or whatever.
When they set up the wager, you use straight dialogue with no tags. I was wondering how Gramm felt about this bet. After all, she probably wants pancakes too! How does the prospect of a kiddie movie strike her? You don't need a lot of words to do this; one reaction sentence would suffice--perhaps right after the girl drops I'll pass on IHOP. Gramm is setting up a bit of a problem for herself here. Adults always want the kid to win, but what if Jenny dawdles? Then neither of them get pancakes!
Well, nobody had to tell me twice. Again, excellent job of getting the idea across using the narrator's voice. This colloquial phrase fits both the character and the situation perfectly.
Someplace, it would be good to establish in more detail why Gramm is so scared of the alligator. I know that sounds stupid--I mean, not wanting to get eaten works for most of us. But is there some encounter she's had in the past, or something she's heard from a neighbor, that would put a better point on it? It would make the encounter more personal to add something like this, even though being wary of big reptiles with pointy teeth is just good common sense.
Jenny isn't the most popular kids' name nowadays. If you want to sound more up-to-date, you might want to make her a Chelsea or Brianna or something. Even those are probably out of date by now! You can look up popular girls' names online, though. The favorites seem to change about every five years or so.
Should you want to convert this to a children's story, emphasizing Jenny as the "hero" of the story could be fun. She's brave, and wants to help her Gramm feel less scared, etc.
A few details
Going to bed early in order to rise and shine at 5:30 in the morning might be a little bit of a chore for Jenny It takes a bit too long for this sentence to get to the verb. Also, the subject and first word, "Going," turns a verb into a noun, while reducing the actual verb action to the week "be," and sticking the person, Jenny, way back there at the end. Try reordering this sentence with Jenny as the first word and subject, and I think it will come out more readable.
"What's that for, Gramm?" I handed her an old belt as she settled in the front seat. Unless there's some reason to do otherwise, it's usually best to keep action in chronological, cause/effect order. Gramm would hand the belt over first, then Jenny would react.
I knew the previous occupants Sort of a round-about way of saying the other people.
through the clearing stepping gingerly needs a comma
the little girt a cold drink typo
pickin anymore blueberries today pickin' or picking, any more
We picked a lot more that these another typo
This is a very enjoyable story, and with a bit of polishing should be publishable.