Just a few weeks ago my daughter (age 6) and I visited my grandparents in Ohio as part of summer vacation. I always love going back to see them because it fills my entire being with a feeling of nostalgia from my childhood. There is something very special about visiting one’s grandparents. They spoil you, teach you, share with you their saged advice about life and appreciation of where you are and embracing everyday to the fullest. It is the warmest my heart ever feels…as I turn the steering wheel into their drive and exhale a deep sigh of relief after the long drive to see them. The next breathe I take in, is full of excitement, pure joy and happiness. Every time I go to visit, they are outside before the car engine ever turns off and ready to welcome me with open arms. Sharing that with my daughter, Lillian Pepper is one of the happiest parts of parenthood (I think this is how my mom must’ve felt when she would take us to see them, when we were children).They live deep in the country and their property is filled with apple trees, a massive garden, thick woods and many, many, many wild blackberry bushes. I have always enjoyed climbing those countless apple trees and pricking my fingers on the bushes as I attempted to reach the perfect berry that always seems just barely out of reach (though it never discouraged me from trying) and walking in the woods along side them.
This year was the first time that Lillian really enjoyed it and was able to fully partake in all the fun along side my cousins children that her own age. It really brought back so many great and fond memories of our childhood and I loved watching them (who were) just as excited as we ever were! There was more than 1 occasion that Grandma called out to us from the backdoor of the house and told us that we needed to come inside because it was getting to dark and late and we needed to hurry up. I’ve heard those words more than once in my life. LOL. They use to annoy me and now I can’t help but smile-her worry has never wavered and her momma instincts are still as sharp as ever-3 generations later.
We picked bowls and bowls full of berries over the days we were there…so many in fact that I decided we needed to find a recipe that I would attempt to bake a dessert with. We hit the jack pot-I found the perfect Blackberry Cobbler recipe that was baked in cast iron (I should fully disclose that my fiancé found the recipe-but I did the baking). As we sat around the table enjoying the yummy dessert topped with ice cream (that my grandfather insisted that we needed) I couldn’t help but nearly burst with happiness. I knew my grandparents felt the same way because when I looked over to them, they both had huge smiles that stretched across their entire faces from ear to ear.
I tried to bargain with my grandmother to let me keep the bowl that we had collected the berries in because I loved it so much (it had been her mothers bowl and I’m very sentimental like that), she kept shaking her head no matter how much I begged and said I couldn’t have it and I better not steal it either. HAHA. We licked our spoons and bowls clean and then talked about how we needed to go back out the next morning and do it all over again.
I loved it. Watching Lillian’s face light up at the sight of the fully loaded bushes just as I had as a young girl, her age. Hearing her squeal in excitement as she kept finding bigger and bigger berries. It was simple. Sweet and lovely. The PERFECT summer pastime and memories in the making that we will all hold onto…that will never age, but live forever and continue on for many generations to come. Each time I go out there, I feel 6 years old again..its like being walking through a time portal each time the wheels turn into the driveway…the feeling never changes.