Saturday, September 20, 2008

Pies add memories, not pounds

Note: I wrote this June 1, 2005, when I was editor of a small weekly paper in southern Oklahoma. This was my Editor's Musings column for that week. I was doing some cleaning today when it fell out of a basket of items and I read it. Needless to say, a box of kleenex would have been good at that moment. I'm sharing it with you.

Pies add memories, not pounds
By Toni Hopper

A thick creamy yellow pie with golden crusted meringue sat on the Jefferson County commissioner's meeting table Tuesday morning.
Everyone eyed the pie - a coconut treasure waiting to be devoured - until its maker, Lou Ann Epley of Wilson, cut the first piece.
Commissioner Jack Tipton didn't wait for it to be claimed. He knew it was his piece.
It's not the first time Eply has brought pie to the commissioner's meeting and she may be on to something. Because each time she brings the pie, her agenda item is approved.
Courthouse janitor Colleen McLemore later watched John Dale unabashedly delve into a second helping. McLemore described it. "A man's pie."
Well, not my man, anyway. He detests coconut in any form.
"Toni's not going to have any I guess, so I'll just take her piece," Dale said in reference to me as he cut the last large piece into two smaller ones.
"Coconut and banana cream pies,ummm."
He rolled his eyes and bit into another piece of the pie.
That was okay with me.
A rich pie, well, it had to be rich, judging by the way it looked and the content looks on each of the pie 'victims' faces when they finished their pieces - would have made me worthless for the rest of the day. It was only 9:30 in the morning.
Earlier, Epley teased the commissioners with thoughts of blackberry or other fruited pies. The coconut pie is apparently Tipton's favorite.

All this talk of pie made me think of my mom's deep dish peach cobbler.
In December, I traveled back to (Colorado) to see my Mom for the last time. She was in the hospital with a broken hip. I remember her telling me to make sure I took home "the pan."
That pan had to have been the first pan she ever owned. I don't know that for a fact, but I remember it from my childhood. It was a deep dish aluminum pan, one of those teal green-coated pans that she used to cook stews, chili and of course, the peach cobbler.
My Mama never wrote the recipe down for her peach cobbler, but I can remember when I was about 10-years-old, she began teaching me to bake.
A little of this and that, and before the pie had a chance to cool, it was gone. Of course, not without a generous helping of vanilla ice cream. Sometimes, that too, was homemade. I also remember that while there didn't have to be any special events for Mama to make the pie, she always, without fail, made it when my sister, Deborah, arrived on our doorstep - usually a surprise.
We'd even tried other pans, but they lacked the magical ingredient which made the cobbler so yummy.
I went in search of the pan, but couldn't find it.
Sad to say, someone had tossed the pan in a cleaning raid. I didn't have the heart to mention it to Mom.
Funny, how little things like a pan can hold great memories when we lose someone we love.
I did find Mom's oil sewing can, a bit rusted, after her death.
That little can is like a trophy to me. She was quite the seamstress. The can shares space on a shelf with my vintage camera collection.
I'm sure she's having a good laugh. I can't sew.

(Photo of sewing can to come soon!)

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