It seemed like a simple enough question.
If you could only have ONE type of pie for Thanksgiving, what kind would you want?
In asking it, I hoped to reach a pie consensus. Instead, I got the following requests:
Pecan….no wait! Pecan Fudge!!
Blueberry! Strawberry Rhubarb!
Pumpkin…no wait! Jameson Pumpkin!
Frozen Peanut Butter! Cherry! Raspberry!
I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner for twelve people. I am pretty sure that if they had it their way, there would be twelve pies cooling in my back porch right now.
Clearly, we are pie zealots. In fact, if there was an organized religion we could all join that had pie as one of its central guiding principles, we’d never miss a Sunday. Our patron saint would be in an apron holding a rolling-pin. There would be a smudgy spot of flour right in the middle of his forehead. On Thanksgiving, we would light a pumpkin spice scented candle in his honor.
Okay, so maybe I’m overstating it. But I do think that the world would be a kinder, gentler place if people baked more pies.
Cookies are a ridiculous waste of time. Spending all that time dropping spoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheets and then waiting for each dozen to bake isn’t my idea of how to spend my life. Besides, about fifty percent of the cookies I bake are either too hard or too soft. And cakes are just kind of dumb and fluffy. How hard is it to open a box, crack a couple of eggs, add oil and water and bake? If I had a monkey, which I don’t, I could teach IT how to bake a cake.
But pies? From scratch? Now pies take time, and effort, and creativity. Every slice of pie is a flaky little fruit-filled wedge of love.
Last summer, I spent one glorious August afternoon picking wild blueberries with a dear friend. She was the perfect picking partner, and we spent hours squatting in an enormous bog picking some of the most beautiful berries I’ve ever seen. I will remember that day for the rest of my life. I froze a couple of bags of the berries, and this week when I made my blueberry pies, I thought of her and that day in the bog with the sunshine on our necks and was thankful for her friendship, the memory, and those berries.
On Thursday, once the dinner dishes are cleared, I will sit at the table that first belonged to my great-grandmother with most of the most important people in my life eating my pies and be thankful for the noise and the laughter and those everyone-talking-at-once-between-bites moments that never come often enough in any family.
Other Thanksgivings will come to mind, too. The ones when there was always a custard pie for my grandfather, baked by my grandmother. Holidays when it was me coming home, not my grown kids. I’ll look at the faces around my table and remember the babies that the set of young adult cousins there used to be. And for another year, I will be grateful that all five of them are happy, healthy, and whole.
The faces at my table will remind me that time passes. That chairs left empty by the passing of one generation in a family are filled by the next, and then the next. That life is a circle. Like a pie.
It takes some effort to bake a pie, raise a kid, make a marriage last. When one has been blessed with the gifts of family and health and enough of what’s important in life, it is easy to take all of it for granted. My prayer today is that I never do.
Some day, hopefully a long time from now, someone will write my eulogy. I hope when the time comes, that I will be remembered for more good things, than bad. But if they can’t think of anything else to say, this would be enough:
“She was grateful for her many blessings. Oh, and that woman could bake one helluva pie.”