I’ve heard the story most of life. I even have personal knowledge of the yumminess of it all. It wasn’t always something my mom was happy about. But for those of us that have had the pleasure firsthand it is something we are glad that she was made to endure.
She has frequently narrated the story often with disdain; as if to endure it all over again.
Some said it was her crust. Others disagreed and swore it to be the fillings. But whatever your taste it was always the first asked for and the first gone at any family meal or get together.
“It’s not fair Mary Lee always gets to go, and I have to stay here and bake” she repeated time and time again.
“Now Ruthie,” Daddy would start “you know your hay fever will get the best of you, and your mother could use your help.”
Ruth knew better than to argue with her daddy. So once again she stayed in the hot August kitchen while her brother and sister went to the field with daddy and the hay crew.
She wanted to go too, or be on her horse, or down at the crick (no this is not a typo they call the creek a crick in Kansas I have no idea why) fishing.
It seemed to her she’d spent her whole life in this kitchen making pie. Pie for dinner. Pie for holidays and family reunions. Pie for family. Pie for friends. And of course pie for Daddy’s dinner and evening snacks.
Banana cream, cherry, lemon, and her daddy’s favorite, coconut.
By the time she was a young married woman she had made more than her share of pie. She just knew now that she was married and a mother herself; her pie baking days were over.
When she and her family visited the farm on weekends and later for summer vacation she explained, “I’m sure Mary Lee and Mother can make the pies now, I’ll go to the field with you and the kids Daddy.” But Daddy assured her the kids would be fine with him.
“You stay here with your Mother and help with the dinner; I’ve been waiting for your pie.”
So Ruth would bake, chocolate, apple, pecan, and of course coconut for Daddy.
As stories go time marches on, people fall apart, move away, pass on, times change and so do lives.
The one constant was Ruth’s pies. First in her mother’s kitchen, then her own, and as her children grew- pies were made in their kitchens too.
When she visits her sons today they request their favorites. Her grandkids all have a favorite flavor of their own they have grown into adulthood with.
Family functions have changed from “Ruthie can bake the pies” to “mom will bring the pies” and “Grandma, will you make me a pie?”
Ruth’s Mother and Daddy have been gone for a while. The hay fields have turned to weeds, and the farmhouse of her youth now sits empty.
Her pie making has slowed the past few years. But if you ask her family they will tell you that they are still considered the best part of any family gathering.
I wonder if she is busy this weekend?