Blackberry Longings

I remember red Georgia dust beneath my shoes as I clutched a basket, leaned over and plucked ripe, juicy blackberries from the bushes on the side of the road.
I recalled this memory after reading my friend Anna’s blog about the fruit growing in her backyard, and seeing this picture.
When I was a child, I loved visiting my grandparents in Cordele during the summer. They lived on a farm off a dirt road – a wonderful place for a child to play, imagine, and pick blackberries. I remember heading out on a sweltering day, basket in hand, looking for ripe blackberry bushes. For every blackberry that went in that basket, two went in my mouth. They were unwashed, sometimes gritty from the dust, but so juicy and sweet that I didn’t care about the rest.
After Grandmother’s basket was full (and mine a third full), we’d head back. There, she would take the blackberries and turn them into the most delicious cobbler. Even though I didn’t think I could eat another blackberry, blackberry cobbler was too tempting to resist. Especially when it was warm. Served with ice cream.
Come to think of it, those summer memories still influence me in subtle ways. I still love watermelon, not only because of it’s taste, but because it grew on that farm and brings sweet memories. And just last week. I was in the jelly aisle of the grocery store, scanning the labels on the jars. I picked blackberry. I didn’t think of it at the time, but I’m sure I like blackberries not just because they’re tasty, but because they remind me of summers on the farm with family, a basket, and a whole afternoon of berries.