Blackberries, Summer Days and Granny
Blackberries and summer days always elicit thoughts of my dear little Granny. She was special as grandmothers go. She lived in a little house by the sea and it was always such a pleasure to go and visit her there. While she didn’t have toys for us to play with, there was always something interesting and different to do. She lived down a long dirt road in the country in a little hamlet called Hampstead.
My sister and I loved to walk that little dirt road and collect sticks, rocks and shells and other little treasures. We used the sticks to draw pictures in the red clay of the dirt road and write messages that we were sure some passers-by might see.There were some eagles that nested on top of some telephone poles at the very end of this little road. It was always exciting to see those eagles.
Granny lived right on the ocean sound not too far from Topsail Island. You could hear the sounds of the ocean and the sea gulls while lying in bed at night. It was a magical place to stay as a child. Often we saw barges passing through the intercoastal waterway.
There was a large swimming hole at the end of the lane where Granny lived. She would put on her black skirted bathing suit and pink swim cap with plastic flowers on it and take us swimming. We would swim around in that murky sea green water and hope that a fish didn’t slide past our legs. It was different a kind of fairy land that didn’t exist back in our home town.
She had a little pea green motor boat, that my daddy would take us out for a ride in, we would go fishing and just see the sights of the sound. I can still remember getting stuck on a sand bar while out in that little boat and wishing we had brought something to drink.
Granny loved to play scrabble. She loved to break all the rules too and use every dictionary available. =) She was a wonderful piano player and taught lessons for many years out of her home. She could play the ‘Boogie Woogie’ better than anyone I’ve ever heard. She loved to dance the ‘Charleston’ in her kitchen and sing at the top of her lungs…especially early in the morning when everyone else was still sleeping. I think she really believed in that adage “The Lord respects me when I work, but he loves me when I sing.” She was a singer, or at least she thought so and that is all that mattered.
She had loads of friends, who she fancied to call up very early most mornings and just chat away. She was the essence of happy. Or at least the way I picture it.
She had a little garden and loved to cook. I was especially fond of her waffles, crab cakes and blackberry cobbler. Which brings me to the title of my post Blackberry Summer. Every summer when we were children, my Granny would make the trip from Hampstead to our home in Midland to visit us.
We lived in a quaint little neighborhood out in the country, on the outskirts of the big city of Charlotte, NC. There were some railroad tracks that ran behind our neighborhood there. Wild blackberries grew abundantly near these train tracks. My daddy would take my sister and I blackberry picking along these tracks during the summer. I remember finding marbles along those tracks and other tiny treasures as well. But the blackberries were the real treasure.
We would bring those blackberries home and my Granny would make blackberry cobbler. One of my fondest childhood memories is of that purple/black cobbler on a plate smothered in vanilla ice cream. One of the yummiest southern treats EVER.
Memories Are Made Of This…
Today, my dear, sweet Granny is long gone. But her memory lives forever in my heart. The picture I have of her in my mind’s eye, is of her eternally smiling and singing, banging on her old piano while a cobbler or something sweet bakes in her oven nearby. A lovely picture. She was a lady of faith. A faith which I now share with her and treasure very deeply. For that I am grateful. She was not only my grandmother, she was my friend. As I have said before I was doubly blessed when it came to grandmothers. Granny was special.
Just today I went up on the hill behind our house, to check on the wild blackberries that grow in a veritable hedge surrounding our upper most back yard. I thought of Granny, her cobblers, her songs, her joy. I can hardly wait for that first blackberry cobbler of summer. Not just for its yummy goodness, but for the memories it evokes. Always sweet and always grand.
I wanted to share my Granny’s recipe for Southern Blackberry Cobbler. It is as simple as they come. Granny was one of those old fashioned cooks who didn’t go much by the recipes. They were mostly all in her head. But I am blessed that she wrote this one down. Enjoy and have a dish of purple cobbler in memory of a Granny who was always smiling.
Granny’s Southern Blackberry Cobbler
1 1/2 sticks of butter
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
3 tsp. baking powder
Enough fresh blackberries to cover the bottom of a long glass baking dish with a thick layer of berries (Extra sugar for coating the berries)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt the butter in the bottom of the baking dish.
Stir the blackberries together with enough sugar to sweeten them in a bowl.
Pour the sweetened berries into baking dish on top of the butter.
Mix all the remaining ingredients together and pour over the fruit.
Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 25 minutes or until the top crust is done.
Enjoy warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
There you have it folks a recipe as simple and wonderful as the lady my Granny was!
Granny and Grandaddy aren’t they sweet. She even had the name to go with her beautiful clothes ‘Ida.’ I always thought it was such a vintage name. =)
Sunrise over Topsail Island looking out over the sound. Isn’t it beautiful!
The moon over the sound. These pictures are courtesy of my sweet auntie who now lives in my Granny’s refurbished house on the sound. So if you are reading this Auntie J. I love you to pieces. Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos with me.
On a last little note, when we went up on the hill today to check the blackberries, we picked a few for our resident bunny CoCo. My son reminded me that Coco loves blackberries, just like the bunnies Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail in Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit tale. So here are a few pictures of Coco who is not so chocolate colored anymore, in fact she’s a bit of a blonde…enjoying her blackberries. Have a fantastical weekend. Blessings and Sunshine to you all!