Today’s southern Nevada can seem far away from the gentle rhythms and lush rolling hills of decades’ past rural Alabama — almost as far away as the distance between childhood and old age.
But a body can get there in an instant, with the help of local author Rhonda Gatlin and her children’s book, Granny’s Cobbler.
On the surface the book is about a young girl learning how to make a blackberry cobbler from her grandmother; what it takes to collect and count the berries, cook them, bake them and most importantly — eat them.
But Granny’s Cobbler is also a recipe for living — an ode to the special bond between grandparents and grandchildren; the joy of learning and of teaching.
Told with the same charming southern cadences of this retired educator, Gatlin had written a version of the piece back in 2002 for her grandmother’s 100th birthday—then put the story away in a drawer and forgot about it.
She came upon the tale again several years later after a siege in the hospital, fighting off an auto immune disease that has slowed her body, but obviously not her mind or her heart.
Gatlin credits her brother, who is a pastor, for her rediscovering the story
“My brother said to me—‘Rhonda I was praying and it just came to me—you need to write something,’” she told us in an interview in her quiet Boulder City home, just a couple steps from her kitchen where we could imagine her whipping up a batch of the cobbler.
“So I started looking through my writing over the years and I found this. I knew this was it.”
With help of illustrations from local artist Lee Lanier Gatlin got the book published and has been giving readings to local school children.
When we sat down with her in March, she had just finished giving her 50th reading. The book is available through Amazon.com, AuthorHouse.com and Barnesandnoble.com. Or contact her and her husband Chris Gatlin’s business Woodchucks at 1504 Nevada Highway (702-293-3565) for a copy of the book.