The Big Black Blob in the Basement Reveals Family Secrets

Yesterday my parents and I went over to my grandma’s house to pick blueberries and take her out to lunch. It was 95 degrees (F) out and I was poorly dressed for the task since I was only planning to go to Ikea that morning to pick up our new outdoor furniture and then ended up staying with my parents to my dad’s doctor’s appointment, which happened to be near my Gma’s so we decided to go over there.

My grandparents were/are huge gardeners. My Gpa was a founder and active member of the local gardening club for literally decades and when they had bought the house I’ve always known them in they bought with with gardening in mind. One of the highlights of my grandparents” garden is the Blueberry Patch down at the bottom of the property in my Gpa’s garden. My Gma’s garden is up at the top of the property and right behind the house.

We have 9 blueberry bushes of 3 variety of blueberry and every summer that my family is in the area we do our best to harvest them all. This summer is proving to be one of the best harvests in the last couple of years and I’m excited because I love blueberries and I’ve missed blueberry season for several years now with my traveling and school obligations.

So there I was, both over and under-dressed all in black, feeling like I was under broiler picking blueberries and making my mom scream by pointing out all the tiny spiders next to her. Since I haven’t been around for the proper blueberry experience for so long I had forgotten how absolutely sublime it is to pick a juicy berry the size of a nickel straight off the bush and put it straight into your mouth. It’s warm and sweet and the texture can’t be beat by any other form of blueberry or blueberry by-product.

As I was standing there roasting in the sun eating berries towards the end of our picking session I remembered someone… or something… that I hadn’t thought of in a while: Dorfy. Now to truly understand Dorfy and why it has anything to do with blueberries I have to go back more years than I will say.

When I was around 7 years old my family moved from Sudan to Ethiopia. I think it was around this time that I realized I really hated the heat (I’d just never remembered anything different really) and I liked big fluffy down blankets. It was also around this time that my grandpa decided it was high time he learned how to use a computer so during one of our R&R’s back to the States my dad set him up and soon there was a desktop in his basement office with little sticky notes and labels all over the place to remind him how to do everything from turning the computer on to checking email to ordering books online.

While my grandpa would write regular reports to my parents I started to receive this “secret” messages written by a big black blob that supposedly live in my grandparents’ basement and came out at night to play on my Gpa’s new computer and eventually learned how to write emails. You’d think I would have been smarter at 7 and realized it was my Gpa but I wasn’t. I dictated an email back to the strange blob through my mom and now there is a folder of printed email exchanges labeled “Dorfy” of which I own a copy.

The reason I remembered Dorfy in the Blueberry Patch is because one summer he had snuck into my Gpa’s big white behemoth of a car and followed them to a friends house where my Gpa had discovered the secret formula of combining three of his favorite things: blueberries, ice cream, and chocolate. While my Gpa was sill alive these three items were staples in their kitchen.

The next time I was at my grandparents I begged for my Gpa to teach me the secret recipe during one of our late nights up watching “Two Stupid Dogs” when we were in need of our Saturday night “Midnight Snacks” (which actually took place at 11 but at my age I certainly wasn’t going to point out what time it was in fear of being sent to bed). My Gpa was much more mobile back then and shuffled into the kitchen and grabbed the ingredients while I got use bowls and spoons.

We sat at the dining room table and I watched, enthralled, as he explained the delicate balance of a FULL scoop of ice cream, a proportionate handful of fresh blueberries from the garden (it was summer), and the perfect drizzle of chocolate syrup over the whole thing in order to create the trifecta. Pretty much every night afterwards on that trip I was showing my mother how good I was getting at making the Secret Recipe and every night my poor mommy had the hardest time waiting out my sugar high to get me into bed.

After my grandpa died those three things have never been in the kitchen at the same time. My grandma is something of an over-the-top health nut when it comes to her cooking – my grandpa couldn’t stand her healthy cooking most of the time and so when we came over my dad brought steak – so she doesn’t buy ice cream and she wouldn’t be caught dead with chocolate syrup.

Here’s a photo of yesterday’s gleaning from the Blueberry Patch. It’s still early in the season and this is only the second harvest. A whole row of bushes have yet to become ripe so we’re looking forward to a great blueberry season this summer. I’ll probably be doing some features on blueberries this summer. Also Raspberries since the edge of my grandma’s property is nearly all raspberry bushes about to get ripe.

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Yesterday’s Blueberry Haul

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