I picked so many black raspberries yesterday that I saw the loaded canes in my mind as I was trying to sleep last night. I was pondering all things raspberry while I teetered on the edge of slumber, and I remembered the beauty of Grandma Rayl’s black raspberry pie.
To be honest, I had a slight obsession with it throughout my childhood. I typically prefer cobblers, crisps and crumbles to pie, but I remember being willing to endure pie crust if it had juicy black raspberries cooked within its folds. I could not understand why black raspberry pie could not be the pie of choice at every get-together. Thanksgiving only offered pumpkin, apple and pecan pies, which left me opting out of dessert altogether. It was a travesty in my young mind. If my mom and aunts weren’t watching the desserts too closely, I would sometimes scoop some apple filling out from between its crusts or even just help myself to a hefty dollop of whipped cream for dessert. (Please don’t tell my mom. This is the first time I’ve come clean on this one.)
Anyway, I remember my grandma inviting me to bring “my fella” over for supper one summer when I was home from college. She said she’d make whatever I wanted, so I ordered cubed steak, mashed potatoes & gravy and black raspberry pie. I’m sure she threw in a veggie or two, but they were irrelevant to me. I was focused on the protein and carbs for that meal. I knew that Dave would love the meal, because his mom cooked kind of like my grandma did, and Dave loved fruit pie. I was excited!
Grandma was always good to everyone. My step-grandpa, Ralph, though good through-and-through, was a little bit ornery. He had been my grandpa for as long as I could remember, and I loved him dearly. Ralph liked to tease, and I hoped that Grandma had coaxed him into being on his best behavior. I shouldn’t have worried; they were both gracious, kind hosts.
The meal was wonderful. As we visited after supper, I kept thinking about that pie that was still coming. I had intentionally left room for it, and I could hardly wait. I was almost certain that Grandma would have ice cream to go with it, and she did. When it was time to cut the pie, Grandma doled out big pieces and large scoops of ice cream–more than I really left room for, but I wasn’t going to complain.
We all savored our pie and ice cream, eating it slowly and allowing the beauty of its gloriousness to have its full effect on our taste buds. It was as good as I remembered it being. I noticed that Dave seemed to be working hard to fit his in, which surprised me a little bit, but sheer determination triumphed, and he succeeded.
I loved that time with Grandma and Ralph. I love that she let me choose the menu and that they cleared their evening just to get to know my future husband. Dave is twelve years older than me, and not everyone was thrilled with that age difference. Grandma and Ralph, though, took him for who he was and treated us both with respect. That meant a lot to me.
Eventually, we said our good-byes and gave our hugs. We thanked them both and headed to the car. Dave got in the driver’s side, and while I was still waving–before I even had the door all the way closed–he said to me, “Don’t ever give me raspberry pie again.”
Apparently, Dave likes every kind of fruit pie he’d ever tasted–except raspberry. Oops. I sure do appreciate that he choked it down out of respect and appreciation for my grandma’s service to him in preparing it. He said the ice cream really helped.
After we were married, Grandma invited us out for pie one afternoon. She asked if I wanted black raspberry or another kind. I kind of hesitated (because I did, indeed, want black raspberry), and then I asked her if she’d mind making an apple pie this time. Of course, she didn’t mind. She was a grandma.