The small white sign in the distance grew bigger and bigger as I walked. When I got closer I could make out the small black letters that I knew so well. It read “Blueberry Hill.” That’s one of the things I loved about living here - all the old houses had names, including Grandma’s. When Mom and I moved here I was sad because our house didn’t have a name. Most kids’ favorite day of the year is Christmas, but not me. Every August fifteenth I go to Grandma’s house and we pick blueberries together. It used to be her, me and Grandpa, but he passed away a few year ago. When I got to the door to her house I knocked loudly. After a few seconds she opened the door. Her pepper hair was frazzled and I could see clumps of flour in her bangs. She smiled up at me and said, “Are you ready?”
“Yes!” I said, eager to begin.
As we walked up the hill towards the blueberry bushes I looked down at my boots. They were wet from the morning dew and a leaf had stuck to the toe. I loved it when this happened and was careful where I moved my foot so it wouldn’t fall off. When we reached the top of the hill, Grandma stopped and handed me my bucket. “Let’s get to work!” she said and placed her bright pink beach hat on her head. She took the second bucket and we parted ways. Me down one row and she down another. The branches were so full of berries that they were sagging to the ground from the weight. I was careful to inspect the bunches I put into my bucket, making sure that none of them were unripe. I heard the clunks as the berries hit the bottom of my bucket. I wasn’t shy to eat as I picked. Grandma and I called the really fat juicy ones the “fatties.” They were my favorites because they were always so sweet. When both my bucket and my belly were full of berries, I looked over the bushes for Grandma. Her pink hat wasn’t hard to find. Her bucket was full and she was waiting for me to finish.
“Ready?” She asked.
“Now, for the fun part!”
Once we were back in the house, the real work began. Grandma piled all of the blueberries into a colander and gave them a good rinse. While she was doing that, I got out my ingredients. Sugar, lemon juice, and Orange Zest.“ Grandma,” I asked.
“Yes dear?” She replied as she shut off the water.
“Why don’t we follow a written recipe?”
“Ah, my dear. The best recipes are from the heart,” she said and pointed to her chest. I smiled at her wise words. She brought over the big bowl of berries and I added the ingredients. I loved this part because there was no measuring, no weighing, just ballpark amounts. Once I was satisfied, Grandma stuck her hands in the bowl and mixed it all together until the mixture was wet and sticky. Her hands were soft and wrinkled. I noticed that she still wore her wedding band even after Grandpa passed. Next was my favorite part. The crust. Grandma made it the night before because it had to rest in the fridge overnight. I helped her roll it out into four circles. Then, Grandma got out the pie tins. We lined the bottoms and filled the tins with the berries. Then we got to design the crust. This year, I decided to do a lattice design. As I weaved strips of dough together, I peaked over at Grandma’s designs. She was carving out leaves and placing them on her pie in a spiral design. It was beautiful. I always admired her sense of imagination and creativity. When I was done, I sprinkled a bit of sugar on my pie and grandma put them both in the oven.
While we waited for them to cook, we played cards. “Your turn,” I said, concentrating on what I should do next.
“Hmmm…” she said. Her deliberation made me nervous. “ Oh, I know!” she put down the ace of spades. “ Your turn.” I started to laugh. I couldn’t stop and bent over, hysterical. “What’s so funny?” Grandma said with a puzzled look on her face.
“You won the game!” I said as I wiped a tear from my eye. “You won the game and you didn’t even know.”
“Oh.” She said with a sly smirk. “Play me again?” I started to answer, but my words were drowned out by the sound of the oven timer. Grandma got up and opened the oven. As soon as she did, a marvelous smell filled the room. My nostrils were on fire with delight. When she took the pies out of the oven, I moved in for a closer look. I could see the purple liquid bubbling beneath my lattice design. The sugar on top had caramelized and looked delicious. Grandma left the room and came back a second later with a light blue polaroid camera. I placed the two pies next to each other, leaned beneath the lens, and stuck my tongue out. Grandma pressed the button and the film came out the bottom. Then, she took a sharpie from the pad next to the phone, and wrote 2018 on the frame of the photo. Her “2” was big and swoopy, just like I remembered. She blew on the ink and handed the white photo to me. I danced around the room, shaking the photo as I went. A few minutes later it was fully developed. Grandma pinned it to the bulletin board hanging next to the doorway. She put it right next to the picture from last year. The pictures went all the way back to 2005. It was me as a baby hanging over the pies with my tongue out. I smiled at all the memories. Grandma wrapped my pie in plastic and sent me home for dinner. I walked back the way I had come that morning. The sun was setting behind the mountains. When my house came into view, I looked down at my pie. The plastic was foggy because the pie was still hot. I noticed the leaf that got stuck to my boot that morning was still there. I smiled. When I reached my house, I swung open the door. Mom was inside sitting at the table. “How was Grandma’s?” she asked
“Great!” I said.
“What do you want to have for dinner?”
“Blueberry Pie?” I said hesitantly. Mom smiled and said,
“Let’s do it!”