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Making room for pie

one end of the pie table.

Harvest on the prairies. Dust blowin’, combines goin’, suppers in the field.

And I was there, back on the farm, the latter part of September.  It had been an early harvest for many in the community and this meant more smiles than sadness, more grins than complaints and more than enough pies, cakes and desserts at the annual Macrorie Fall supper. My hometown.    The supper is a fund-raiser, yes, but it’s more than that. It’s coffee with former bus drivers, it’s hugs from long-time neighbors; it’s fellowship.

See the two blueberry desserts out front?  See that carmelly looking meringue topped madness at 10:00?  That’s a sour cream/raisin pie, my Dad’s favorite, and I know it sounds dreadful .. but I assure you .. it’s not. It’s a combination of carmelly pecan-pie gooeyness peppered with raisins and sometimes nut meats.

The community supper  – a chance to share harvest’s bounty –  was scheduled to start at 5:00 Sunday.  By 4:20 no less than 200 senior citizens from a 40 miles radius were in their seats, forks in hand with their pre-selected pie at their seat.

For many elderly farmers, it was a the old favorites that won their hearts:  flapper pie, apple, and sour cream/raisin.  Ladies chose standards like pumpkin pie with real whipped cream, cherry delight or bread pudding with caramel sauce.  Me?  Pineapple upside down cake. Oh yeah.

In the midst of the communal enjoyment of roast turkey, dressing, turnips, mashed potatoes, garden peas & carrots, gravy, butter, salad and rolls, I witnessed behavior I hadn’t seen for a while: adults jockeying for position; nearly elbowing each other into line. Grown men gleefully discussing the merits of a good pie.

Someone nearby exclaimed, “Good Lord; it’s like they’ve never had food like this before.”

Oh they’ve had it all right.

They’ve had it at their Mother’s table some 60 years ago.

They’ve had it when their wife was still alive and did you know she loved to bake?  Baked a darned good pie that girl did. 

They’ve had it when they’ve been included in Thanksgiving plans and had the opportunity to take a few leftovers home with them.  And they’ll always choose pie.

It’s not the food itself that does it though; it’s that first taste of something you  haven’t had since grade school – that’s what does it. It’s that moment, that taste and smell that awakens the child in each of us. The child who longs for simpler times, for doughnuts at Grandma’s table and pie at the hockey rink. For coming in from a cold evening of freeze tag to the smells of cinnamon coffee cake.

We long for the taste of love, baked into each and every bite.

Thinking about it now, I don’t think I witnessed greed at all.  I saw wisdom in those pre-supper pie pickers.  They were experienced enough to go for the sweet stuff first and build their plate around it.  Why?  They knew there would probably be enough turkey and sides (sustenance), they’re farmers after all, but they’d learned, over the years, to not count on the sweet things in life (decent weather, fair prices and a good harvest).

Do you make room for the pie in your life?

The other end of the pie table ...

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Categories: Attitude, Faith, Fun, Life, Opinion, Seasons, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

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44 thoughts on “Making room for pie

  1. bethsciallo

    Beautifully expressed…the taste of love! And even if you move to another culture and years pass, the smell brings back the sweet memories and loving people. Thank you for the reminder – I’m sure to be baking today 🙂

  2. What a wonderful post, MJ!! I love this. It sounds like such a nice evening. Years ago, during my childhood, our church always had a Thanksgiving supper the night before Thanksgiving. Your post reminded me so much of that. Thanks for awakening my memories!

  3. Love the nostalgia and all them pies. 🙂

  4. Apparently I’m not making enough room for pie, so I’m coming over. Am on my way. Plane is flying!! 😉
    Tasty post 🙂

  5. What a wonderful post! I love your perspective and the pictures of the pie. It makes me homesick, because last night was the famed Saurkraut Supper at the church across the road from my parents farm. I am really hoping my sister Clare will report on it for our blog. Anyway everything you said completely resonated, and I love it. -kate

    • I’m hoping your Sister Clare updates us all .. thank you for stopping in and I’m sorry I made you homesick, Kate, but hopefully only in a good way, Cheers! MJ

  6. I can not help think of the feast waiting in heaven. Oh, how sweet it will be!

  7. Awesome post MJ! Loved it.
    Two things…
    1. I’d forgotten all about “freeze-tag”. Now I wanna play!
    and
    2. I learned a while back, when I traveled along w/ my husband who was on the road w/ Anheuser-Busch, to always, always order dessert first and eat it while we waited for lunch. And the reason for that? It’s because one time I was left sitting there hurriedly finishing my pie while the semi’s pulled back out onto the Interstate! It *never* happened again! 😉

    • Freeze Tag and Oley Oley Oxen free! 🙂
      I need to order dessert more often. I met a fellow this summer who is a bit older than the hubbs but grew up with him (sort of). I watched with amazement as he ordered dessert first. He grew up the youngest of I think 6 boys .. and his reasoning? Didn’t know if there’d be dessert and he could always take home his “main course.” Wow! Never thought of it that way … You are smart to have only let it happen to you once (( the semi leaving without you and your pie! ))
      MJ

  8. Funny…when we go to a restaurant I never have room for dessert. But when it’s a church pot luck social, there’s always room for pie + a brownie + a chocolate chip cookie. yummmm…I love this post and the pictures…perfect display of our bounty! Well written. I love your images of the seniors jockeying for position…haha. 🙂

    • Absolutely at a setting like that, when you know it’s homemade with love and TLC, get a 2nd helping. Ain’t nothing like it in this world.

      Jockeying was putting it mildly … there were darn near fist-a-cuffs and that was older ladies! 😉 MJ

  9. My motto: Always eat dessert first, you never know what might happen.

  10. What a great post. And I love all the plates of pie! Makes me want to bake now.

    • … if you could have only seen the looks I got when I snuck ahead of the crowd to take those photos … I chuckle now just thinking about it! MJ

  11. There’s always room for pie. Beautiful post.

  12. I grew up in a rural area where fund raisers helped the local churches, fire departments and civic organizations get enough cash for the upcoming year. Steak frys, pancake suppers, turkey dinners (600 served and sold out at my old church), pork chop dinners, etc. If you want to be fed well…go eat at little town dinners.
    As for the sour cream raisen pie…I was introduced to it by my soon to be wife. It’s delicous. It’s not Thanksgiving or Christmas without it. So rich and delicous….but I’m a pie fiend…a pie junkie…a literal dessert demon…so I’d readily give up the stuffing for three desserts in a heartbeat.

    A great post MJ, and your pictures drove the point home.
    R

    • oh yeah .. if you leave a place like that hungry … it’s your own darn fault.

      Someone else knows about sour cream/raisin? YAY!!

      I knew, when I was there, that those photos were blog-worthy – cheers! MJ

  13. Also…the unfinished tables in the photo (let the pies do the talkin’) and 1970’s colored carpeting on the stage (it ain’t worn out so we ain’t paying for it to get replaced!) and hardwood floors (good for dances, dodgeball, basketball, Sunday school classes, town meetings, and the occassional town dinner).

    • you got it all … that’s it exactly … I sang and danced on that stage, jitter-bugged and jived on that dance floor and even held my father’s memorial service there (( too many people to fit into the church …. no less than 400 in attendance )).

      That beautiful red carpet was new in about 1974 and those tables? They can be covered in roll out paper and streamers if you choose to spend the extra $$ … thank you for getting the details .. that’s exactly I why I couldn’t spend $120 on a purse a while back either. see https://emjayandthem.com/2011/09/20/a-lone-wolf/

      Cheers Rich! MJ

      • When I read “lone wolf” I thought “yeah…I can see MJ being that.” 🙂 I usually don’t comment on “ladies fashion blogs” (HA!) Even though it wasn’t so much about fashion/purses and more about a mindset.

      • I knew you’d get it, Rich 🙂 MJ

  14. Oh, MJ, the ‘gooeyness’ of that raisin pie sounds SO yummy! I feel like I gained a couple of pounds just looking at all those servings spread out on the table! Your post was so well written, and I imagine it describes the feelings of many of us who remember favorite church or community fellowship around those big long tables! Thanks so much for helping to bring back the memories. A lot of them occurred in the fall of the year, just about this time.

    My parents had a dear old friend many years ago who always ate his dessert first. I always thought he just had his quirky preferences, but after reading your post, perhaps he had wisdom of which I was not aware! 🙂

    • Talking with my cousin last night, she revealed that she has Grandma F’s Sour Cream/Raisin pie recipe .. I can hardly wait to get my paws on it. It’s been so long that I had a taste :).

      I am glad that this post took you back … I like the fact that, despite where we’re located now, so many of us have that common experience of the church/community supper …. the ties that bind, right?

      Turns out your parents’ friend knew exactly what he was doing 🙂 MJ

  15. Being a southern gal, I know a thing or two about family dinners and tables groaning with a surplus of deliciousness. And the meringues! Holy mackarel! Many people have stopped making pies with meringue toppings, yet I think they make the dessert special and exquisitely beautiful – the oven crisped swirls sealing in the light and fluffy space between it and the filling. You have officially made me hungry!

    • Oh yeah … the meringues are to-die-for …. I’ve seen pies with meringues higher than the pie itself and I know you have, too 🙂

      Wish I had a piece of pie with my coffee this morning. Cheers, Renee!! MJ

  16. Just thought I would let you know that my little sister who is still at home just wrote about our pie filled harvest celebration- so stop by and check it out if you get the chance!-kate

  17. I go back to my childhood every time I take a bite of my Mom’s apple pie. Thankfully, she is still alive, and she still makes the pies around this time of year. I cherish each bite, and I treasure the ‘now’.

    And I remember church suppers and festivals. So much homemade goodness – so much community love and appreciation.

  18. Amy A

    We should always make room for pie, and everything that brings us joy in life. Love this post, and this blog. Thanks for commenting and visiting my blog too. Cheers! Amy

  19. Great fun! I grew up going to church potlucks (my dad was a minister, so LOTS of church in my life!) Looks very familiar! And I agree about the taste/memories connection. Music and smells do that for me too.

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane!

    Sheila

    • … you’re welcome. It’s been fun to read the comments as so many across this continent seem to have memories of a church supper .. and an abundance of pie.

      Cheers! MJ

  20. Oh, Lord, MJ, those pies look incredible. And I DO make room for pie in my life. Love it!
    Hugs,
    Kathy

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