I introduced some very beloved loved ones to boysenberry pie yesterday. The questions were numerous.

“What’s a boysenberry?”
“Is this like an olallieberry?”
“What’s an olallieberry?”
“Why can’t we order olallieberry now?”
“Is there a girlsenberry?”
“Are there seeds?”

I couldn’t believe they had never eaten a boysenberry pie before. By the way, a boysenberry pie is the only proper berry pie; my father taught me that. Raspberries are too delicate and watery for pies, and blackberries are not sweet, very seedy and… geez, what is that taste? Thickety? Bramble-y? Blueberries? Blueberry pie is not berry pie; it’s blueberry pie.

When I was a kid I went through dutch apple, cherry (ooh, but I do love a sour cherry), blueberry, Marie Callender’s crazy-sweet strawberry, sour cream-apple, peach, pecan, STAY AWAY FROM MINCEMEAT ALWAYS DEAR GOD PLEASE TRUST ME ON THIS, black bottom, banana, lemon meringue. And yes, berry pie is the best. The look on my dad’s face when he ordered berry pie confirmed it, and the look on his face when he got that first bite was … I don’t know. I can’t believe strangers didn’t walk up to him and hug him for good luck when they saw that face. It was the most expressive face of peace and joy on the face of a very high-level computer engineer.

When I was introducing Benny and his kids to berry pie yesterday, I suddenly realized that my father’s last meal was berry pie. He and my mom had taken an elderly neighbor to Marie Callender’s for Sunday evening pie, and on the way home, they got in a car accident. The elderly neighbor and my mom were injured, and my dad died.

Sometimes I’m very upset that Benny never got to meet my father, but at least now that Benny has had berry pie, I think he might know him a little better.

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