black-bottom peanut butter pie | the merry gourmet

We celebrated my husband on Father’s Day with handmade and store-bought cards. We gave him gifts of his favorite candies – Jelly Belly jellybeans, Sour Patch Kids, and Mike and Ike candies (really, for a dentist, he’s a terrible role model). We surprised him with a Super Dad t-shirt and a Minecraft shirt to match his son’s. Oliver spent a week building a special “Dad’s World” in Minecraft and  unveiled it Sunday morning. Madeline made her father his own paper fortune teller and used it to predict that he would be famous one day. I made Sam a decadent black-bottom peanut butter pie that we nibbled on all weekend.

But really, it was not the best day. It was the first Father’s Day since the death of both of our fathers.

I tried to stay upbeat, to celebrate the amazing father of my children, a man who deserves recognition every day of the year, not just on one Sunday in June. But I couldn’t keep my grief at bay.

the box on the dining room table

strawberry balsamic & black pepper ice cream | the merry gourmet

There is a box on the dining room table. The box is a run-of-the-mill cardboard box, about 7 inches square. There are no shipping labels on the box, just a name, written in black Sharpie. The top flaps of the box are folded in an overlapping fashion, as I might have done with that box of stuffed animals I moved from my childhood bedroom to my college dorm. Because we are lazy people, the box is surrounded by stacks of my daughter’s clean laundry, a set of folded sheets, an unopened wine bottle that hasn’t yet found it’s home in the wine fridge, and some of my son’s school artwork.

The handwritten name on the box reads, “George, Truett.”

My father’s ashes are inside. I presume they are in a plastic bag, but I am not certain, because I’ve not mustered the courage to open the box.

Last week, when I spoke to my mother about babysitting the kids on Friday, I said to her, “Bring Dad, please.”

the ideal kind of day

blueberry galette | the merry gourmet

A geriatric dog, a yellow lab, greeted us in the shade of the oak trees that bordered the orderly rows of blueberry bushes. She eased herself up off the ground and began slowly wagging her tail. Her movements were hindered by arthritis or old age, or maybe she just didn’t care to hurry.  I didn’t blame her. It was a beautiful Saturday morning on the blueberry farm. There was a warm breeze and only an occasional cloud in the sky. It was the ideal kind of day to take things in stride.

The man standing behind the folding table seemed to be in charge of berry sales. His table was piled with several stacks of large white buckets, a kitchen scale, a pile of white plastic grocery bags, and an open ledger. The tinkling of wind chimes arrived with the breeze. The man wore plaid, as farmers in storybooks do, but he was in his late twenties, or maybe early thirties, and had a head full of coal-black hair. He handed us two buckets, one for each kid, which would hold six pounds of blueberries each.

“They’re $6 a pound,” he said. “But don’t go overboard. A family earlier this morning filled four buckets to the top. They weren’t happy when I told them they owed $144.”