Ah, sweet blackberries.
Sneaking. Picking. Eating. Yum.
Fun times long gone by.
Blackberries remind me of my childhood so vividly, in a multi-dimensional way—when I think of blackberries, I think of my whole family, our family dynamics…I think of fun times and laughing…everyone’s personality captured in a seemingly simple act.
And now blackberries are more than a berry. They’re a symbol of times gone by. But they’re also a sign of things to come. A reminder of the cyclical nature of things that both surrounds us and that we are a part of at the same time.
As kids, my dad would load the three of us into the station wagon and shuttle us of to his top-secret blackberry patch. Somewhere by the side of a road in Braintree, a spot he knew from when he was a kid. Before we’d leave he’d needle my mom about getting the pie crust ready, and once we arrived we set out picking berries for a pie, eating at least as much as we picked, laughing and smiling, and feeling a little like outlaws, huddled in our own secret blackberry palace. We’d pick and pick and eat and eat and pick some more and eat even more, and would go home dirty and scratched and having to pee and stuffed with berries but still hungry for the pie we’d urge my mom to bake.
My dad started suggesting to me, a few years back, that I get some thornless blackberry bushes recommended by his friend, Bill. Bill always delivered fresh produce from his garden to my parents’, garnering him the nickname “VegetaBill.” (Ba dum bum.) But anyway…VegetaBill knew his stuff so this year I bit the bullet and got six such plants, keeping four for myself and giving two to my dad. We’re optimistic about our crops, although there won’t be anything to pick this year. And it’s hard to believe next year might bear fruit but we’ll see on that.
In any case, we love our blackberries. My mom doesn’t bake pies anymore (she is an awesome baker but never liked making pies), but my sister bakes them for him on special occasions. I’ve never made a pie, so this recipe interested me, because it looked so easy and sounded so delicious. While the word “slump” may have negative connotations, when it comes to this dessert, it’s a surefire winner. I still haven’t decided whether it was better hot or cold, and I still can’t believe that I was able to let it simmer without peeking. I think going outside and stepping away from the pan was a good idea.
Ah, sweet blackberries.
Tending new bushes with love.
Happiness soon to be picked.
And, on a note unrelated to this post but related to my life, and something worth considering, I give you the July calendar page that hangs at my parents’ house: