top of page

Chapter 22


Gabe and I are having a wonderful Summer. I’ve been busy cycling and covering ballgames, but in the sparse down time, I have made a point to visit the local theater and take in several blockbusters. From Super Mario to Indiana Jones and Oppenheimer and all genres in between, I have enjoyed them all, racking up a lot of Fandango reward points in the process.

Of course, I can’t take Gabe with me to the movies as he would act like a Raptor in Jurassic Park and cause carnage of pre-historic proportions. But we have found another activity to enjoy. Gabe and I are having a blast enjoying a “Blackberry Summer”.

The term Blackberry Summer is an old Southern Phrase that is used to describe when the Summer months are cooler and wetter than normal. While parts of the country are experiencing record heat, Western North Carolina has been unseasonably cool. For example, today’s high in Henrietta was only 81 degrees (July 22nd). The average high temperature for this date is nearly 10 degrees warmer at 90.8 degrees. As for rain, it seems we have had at least a passing shower every day. The average rainfall for July is 4.1 inches and over 5 inches have already fallen here in Henrietta.

All those numbers add up to a Blackberry Summer and we have plenty of fruit on the vine as a result. Blackberries and dewberries grow wild on our farm and Mom grows ever-bearing strawberries in tubs. Gabe loves to find their hiding places while we are on our adventures together. He is the berry version of a truffle hog. The only problem is, Gabe just doesn’t sniff the berries out, he likes to sample them, as well. I guess he considers that his finders’ fee.

Gabe’s love of berries is a new aspect of his character. At  21 months old, Gabe still finds ways to surprise me. He certainly did not sniff them out last year, but then again we did not have that many berries due to a hot and dry Summer in 2022. I knew my duck Corona loved watermelon. I had no idea that my dog has the same kind of affection for berries. Evidently, Gabe is not alone. Other Chessie owners go to the farmers’ markets and buy their dogs an assortment of berries for a snack. Fortunately, we don’t have to leave home for Gabe to get his berry fix. Maybe in the future, Arin’s Good Girl Dog Treats could try their hand at berry-flavored treats to go with their already wide range of wonderful flavors. I’m sure Gabe would love them, too.

My whole family is enjoying the fruits of Gabe’s labors in finding the berries. My mom has fresh blackberry cobblers and fried pies, or she will simply top vanilla ice cream with blackberries. Everyone is involved in the process. Gabe and I find the berries, Dad picks them, Mom makes the dessert and we all get to enjoy them. She has yet to make any strawberry desserts because Gabe eats them all. They are his favorites.

No one knows what the future holds and the weather in North Carolina can be fickle. I have no idea when Gabe and I will have another Blackberry Summer. So we are going to make the most of this one, going out every day looking for “Berried Treasure”.  (Sorry I could not resist.) If next Summer turns out to be hot and dry without any berries, we will have our memories and Gabe will still have plenty of Arin’s Good Girl Dog Treats for a snack.

bottom of page