I Spy A Pie

Few things in life are as instantly gratifying as eating pie. My mother used to make a cream cheese pineapple pie that was fabulous and for many years after she died, my girlfriend would make me one for my birthday.  I was always touched by her thoughtfulness.

I asked my FB friends what their favorite pie is. Blueberry, pumpkin, pecan, strawberry rhubarb, lemon meringue.  One friend related that his wife’s strawberry rhubarb dripped on the pumpkin pie while baking it one year. It was so delicious, she now makes it special order!   A couple of friends just said “pie” or “any pie I don’t have to make”. And really, it is rare anyone passes up a slice of pie.

I craved lemon meringue pie when I was pregnant. I was too impatient to make one so I’d go to the store to buy a frozen Mrs. Smith’s (actually, I’d send my thoughtful, non-pregnant, knew-it-was-in-his-best-interest husband to the store) The thawing directions were a joke! Who had time to wait! I’d eat it right out of the plate!

But mostly when I think pie, I think of my mother. She was all about baking and starting about Halloween time, she’d put on her apron and not take it off til New Year’s! Every room in the house filled with her baking. Even the piece of furniture that housed her sewing machine closed up and was laden with baked goods. It’s not like there would be any sewing done!

One year my niece and I fought over who would get the cream cheese pie. (There were only a few years between us as her father was much older than I). After that, at Thanksgiving and Christmas, my mother would make  each family member his or her own pie. A family of two boys and two girls. We were each married and had children. Skip the math! It was alot of pie.

The last year my mother made pies for Thanksgiving, she had just had her seventh heart attack. We all knew she probably wouldn’t be around for another Thanksgiving. She signed out of the hospital against her doctor’s wishes, but with my blessing. She was determined to be at home and baking.  My mother was 83 and my opinion was that if she were going to die, she should die happily doing what made her the happiest. And baking for her family did just that. To this day, my children often come home and say “Mmmm. Smells like Gramma’s house!”

Hah! Now that I really think about it, I can even remember her asking one year what pie we wanted and of course, we all requested our usual. “No one wants something different this year?”  I’m not sure if she was disappointed in our response, or secretly flattered. 

That’s what it is about baked goods – holiday or otherwise; whether it’s pies or some other favorite. It isn’t whether it’s from scratch or bought at a bakery that is important. It’s that it came from someone who took the time to care. It’s that the giving wraps up tradition and thoughtfulness. A small slice of life that you can count on to keep on giving, long after the giver is gone.

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