I think of her every time I eat southern food, hear a southern accent, shuck corn, string beans and see vine ripened tomatoes.
In short I think of her a lot.
Nannie Davis was 91 years old when she passed away. I knew her a sum total of 1-1/2 years and she completely and irrevocably touched my life. Because family are relations by blood but sometimes if you get very lucky, family are relations by bond.
People who adopt you into their fold. The most unlikely of people who at the most unlikely of times invite you into their lives and engulf you in their warmth. It doesn't matter that she's a 91 to your 30.
This is your tribe.
She was my neighbour that year and a half. And the walls between our homes disappeared. We cooked together, sat on the back porch and shucked corn, sipped icy cold lemonade, swapped recipes and did Lowe's runs together.
She also braved my uber spicy curries & Jambalaya - bless her heart!
People always looked at us funny when we were together. I guess they thought what an odd pair we made and we often chuckled about that. I guess they couldn't quite tell how we were related!
She was with me for almost my entire pregnancy with my first son. Unfortunately, she passed away a week before I gave birth and never met him.
She did however leave me with many many precious gifts - an invaluable friendship with her grand daughter Beth who selflessly cared for her and lived with her and whom I love dearly.
She taught me everything I know about true Southern food - she'd always remind me that she grew up on a farm in North Carolina and they had to raise their own chickens and grow their own vegetables and that I needed to learn how to do it right with all the fixin's.
And boy did she teach me how to make her pies. Like her Million Dollar Pie.
And this gorgeous, custardy, lemony, rich and creamy buttermilk pie.
"The secret is lemon zest" she'd always say "that and love & home made pie crust".
So here's to Nannie Davis and to wonderful moments and people that life hands us.
To the many nameless people who touch our lives in myriad ways, who sacrifice for us, who do the right thing at the worse of times because they represent the very best of our humanity.
And to pie.