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Rites of Friendship

Note from Belinda

My dear friend Dave sent me an email today as he prepared to leave for a while. It was so beautifully written (which is what comes of having writers for friends) and it made me feel that I might  be proud to have inscribed on my headstone one day, simply, "She baked a good pie."

And you can be sure that Ruby, too, shall have pie! :)

By Dave Hingsburger
The weekend before we begin a long lecture trip is one that has become full of traditions. Being away for a long time means incredible organizing. Everything has to be made ready, lists made, items ticked off, everything double checked. At our age this means everything from ensuring that we have enough of our medications to last and that we've packed a book or two for those long airplane trips. By the time we get to the weekend before, we are pretty much organized, then it's the job of getting ourselves emotionally ready for life out of a suitcase, life on the road. No matter how much they romanticize it, it's arduous. This is particularly true when travelling for work, not pleasure. Everyone assues that we are 'in vacation mode' when that's as far from reality as possible. So, we've developed some traditions. One of our main ones is that we make a big home cooked feast, enough to have one day and then leftovers the next. I think leftovers get a bad rap - they are wonderful. All of the taste, little of the work. It's like being able to relive a moment, and having the joy of knowing exactly how it will turn out. We like to be able to get on the plane with the flavours and tastes of home on our tongue.
Which brings me to why I am writing you. Over the past many years now, your pies have become part of this tradition for us. We keep them jealously stored in our freezer. Trying to guard them against intruders can be difficult. When Mike and family are here, just before they leave, they look in the freezer and Ruby exclaims, 'You've got lots of yummy pies in here!' She knows not to ask, but then I see Mike and Marissa wink at each other. They know that our hearts will melt long before the pie is defrosted. So we hide some. Just enough to make sure that we always have one for the weekend before a long trip. What better way to finish a weekend at home than with an apple pie, made of three different apples no less? Thus, yesterday we plopped a pie in the oven to have after dinner. It was so full of apples, three different kinds I'm told, that it took longer than expected to heat all the way through. We sat up and waited for the pie - much later than our typical bedtime. Did you know that it starts to get dark around 8:30!!
We munched on pie yesterday and will again today and finish it off tomorrow night, the night before we fly. Somehow it makes the leaving easier, having these traditions. As we get older, the packing seems to take longer, the trip seems to be somehow more daunting than it used to, and as such we need a little more protection, a little more sweetness. Apple pie, no, that's wrong, YOUR apple pie does that for us. It tastes of apples and friendship, and the marvelous thing about those ingredients is that they both taste better with cinnamon.
I just decided that you should know that your pies are sometimes more than pies. Sometimes they fit into the lives of  others in a unique way. Because, of course, they are more than pies. They are little personal gifts. I've told you before that I think that cooking is a kind of spiritual thing, it's an intimate thing, the feeding of an other's body, the replenishing of energy and spirit. Your pies do that for us. Particularly before we leave.


Marilyn Yocum said…
Cooking, like all creativity, is most definitely a spiritual act, whether the cook realizes it as such or not. I am guilty of years of not realizing it, I think. :-(

But OH I love this tribute to friendship, yes, but even more to the MINISTRY OF PIE made and given by loving hands.
Belinda said…
Marilyn, I am so glad you read it and understood it and loved it. I hesitated to post an email sent by Dave in case it sounded like I was tooting my own horn, but his writing was so beautiful and the whole glimpse into his ritual and the gift that our friendship is--I just couldn't help it--I had to post!
Le pie est fini!
Belinda said…
Well, bon voyage dear friends!
Susan said…
As one who has also been on the receiving end of The Ministration of Pies, I say "Hear, hear!"

(Or perhaps I should say, "Here, here!" :) )

Pie can communicate an awful lot of very good things - love, acceptance, and just plain warm fuzzy feelings. I have two pies in my freezer still. Much as I'd love to chow down myself, I tend to save them for people who need a special lift. A tired son-in-law who just mowed our massive lawn with no expectation of getting anything in return, or another who LOVES pie and is recovering from burn-out.

The bar has definitely been raised at the Stewart house. When it's time for dessert and "Pie!" is announced, the first question is always an expectant and hopeful, "Is it Belinda Pie?"

One of my nearest and dearest indulgences, and far too rare, is a bit of early morning solitude, coffee, a slice of Balderson aged 5 years Cheddar cheese, and a slice of Belinda's pie. Breakfast of Champions! :)

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