I grew up in Southern California. The history around here is rich, but fewer and fewer people each year remember that orange groves dominated what landscape the dairy farms didn't cover. Hollywood and Disneyland have both served to drive the entertainment industries and transform the individuality of the surrounding communities. What was once vast, never ending farm/ranch lands are now a giant, widespread, concrete jungle, saturated with heavy traffic on the freeways and granite counter-tops in the humblest of homes. Time is the great equalizer here, I think. When one local item fades by the wayside, another rises to take its place. And sometimes, sometimes that item reaches global success and no longer belongs entirely to its beginning.
I'm stepping back in time to an item, a product created and nursed to health in 1932 that no longer belongs to one man in Buena Park.
I offer the following in response: A Pie of a Different Berry
Lily peered into the basket of fruit, “Them blackberries ain’t ripe, E’gar.”
Edgar looked up from his newspaper, “T’ain’t blackberries, Lil. Got them from Walt’s berry place just off of Highway 39.”
She brushed flour from her hands and picked a purplish berry for closer inspection. “I don’t know…you sure them’s safe to make a pie with?”
“Them beachy folks bought them by the bucket-load, an’ they’s all gossipin’ about how Cordy’s pies and jams were the cat’s pajamas.” Edgar returned to his paper. “That Sharp woman committed suicide, according to this.”
She rinsed the debris from the berries, trading their basket for a bowl. “Well them cops oughta be ashamed of themselves, driving a grieving woman to that.”
“Maybe she was the kidnappers’ inside man?” he challenged.
“I don’t buy it.” Lily stared at the berries for a moment, wondering what her options were. A cobbler, maybe? The unfamiliar color of the fruit made her hesitant to taste one. “That sweet woman wouldna put Little Lindy in danger. No sane woman could.”
“Lil, I don’t think suicide is the sign of a sane mind, nor an innocent one for that matter.”
“That’s ‘cause you ain’t a woman, E’gar. Women’ll kill to protect their babies. But murderin’ a baby? I tell ya no woman’ll do that.” Cautiously, she bit into the end of the darkest berry. The tartness made her jaw tingle. “Oh, them’s gonna need sugar. What are these called again?”
“They called them boysenberries.”
She picked a large seed from her teeth, still unsure. The berry aspired to be a raspberry in flavor, yet there notes of wild huckleberry in its finish. The juice stained her fingers pink. “Well, I don’t know about them.”
Edgar rose from the table and wrapped his arms around her waist, causing a giggle to work its way through her heart and escape through her mouth. “Well, I know that Cordy’s pies might be famous, but that’s ‘cause them beachy folks never tasted yours.”
She laughed again, kissing his cheek. “I guess a cobbler just won’t do then. A pie it is.”