Skip to main content

True Friends Join You in the Crazy

It was the last day of baking to fill the Christmas orders for apple pie. I had taken the day off from my job as there were an unmentionable and impossible number of pies to be baked before the next morning.

My dear friend Irene also had a day off and was coming to help me by peeling apples. Early that morning she texted me to say, "I'm on my way. Don't start without me!"  

"Don't worry, I won't!" I texted back. And I thought, "True friends join you in the crazy."

She put in a solid 8 hours peeling and slicing and assembling more pie boxes while I rolled pastry and plugged away at assembling and baking pies. Another two friends were coming later; Susan and Kathy; and Irene didn't want to leave until they arrived. And I knew I was being handed from the care of one guardian angel friend to two more.

Kathy and Susan arrived after their own days at work. The peeling was all done, but I had many other things that they could do to help. We laughed a lot as we worked, but I think I stressed them out too, with my instructions to "Weigh and bag 1 pound 6 ounces of apples--exactly." I am obsessive when it comes to measurements and other parts of the process of making the pies.

When we three sat down for a break before they left, and had a cup of decaffeinated coffee and cake, I apologized. They both looked at me as if they didn't know what I was talking about when I said, "I feel as though here you are, two grown women who have baked many pies in  your lives, and I've been treating you like you didn't know what you were doing."

And they both shook their heads and said in all seriousness, "Oh, no, it's quality control." 

And I thought, "True friends close their eyes to the crazy!"

I had been thinking about my mum throughout my pie making and over our coffee, I told Susan and Kathy about her apple pies. She did not enjoy cooking or baking as I do, but she did make a special apple pie.

Mum's apple pie was substantial and made in a large white enameled pie plate, with a dark blue border around the rim. She cooked her apples first in a small amount of water and some sugar, so that they were a thick apple sauce, or appelmoes as she called it in Dutch. The crunchy golden pastry was sprinkled with sugar and she always made delicious, thick, Birds Custard to pour over our large slices.

When we were very small, Mum made up a story that we loved to hear over and over again, about a little pixie man who wandered away from home and got lost in a forest when the sun went down. Of course in later years we realized that this story had a message that Mum wanted to impart subtly! But in the story, a giant finds the pixie man, pops him into his breast pocket, and from this vantage point, high above the tree tops, the pixie man was able to guide him to his home. The mummy pixie man was so grateful to the giant that she baked him an apple pie in a big saucepan lid, and they all became fast friends! I think that the message that was implanted in me was to "bake pie!" :)

Susan and Kathy shared their memories of their own mothers' pies. Susan grew up in Windsor, and her mom drove to work in Detroit every day. Every year at American Thanksgiving, which she would get off as a holiday, she would make apple pie. 

Kathy remembered her mother making mincemeat pie from homemade mincemeat and always adding an apple to the mincemeat to "cut the sugar." Pie weaves itself into our memories of childhood.

True friends, so many of them, came alongside in this adventure to help or purchase pies, or both. If I were to name them all, the list would be long. But I have the list in my head and heart and I am so grateful. 

True friends join you in the crazy!


Anonymous said…
Pie had a different weave in our family. My mother couldn't make one. Her favorite line was from the movie "Annie, Get Your Gun" where, when competing in the "I can do anything you can do better" song, the question came up: "Can you bake a pie?" "No!" "Neither can I." That confession was enough for mom. We never ate pie. But we did have some wonderful Nanaimo Bars!!! So pie is in our "history", not in taste, yet lent our childhood flavor!
Belinda Burston said…
Anonymous, that is a great pie story because it brings back a funny memory of your mom, NOT being able to make one. Thanks for sharing it. :)
Marilyn said…
I simply loved this post, Belinda - the images of the various pie traditions and, most of all, the profound truth about friends joining us in the crazy.

I especially enjoyed the spin put on your ordering around your experienced bakers, as I am currently working with someone who orders me around from time to time, though I know she doesn't mean to. Quality control. Yes indeed! We are both after a good outcome. That is what we have in common and I will remember your post whenever she offers a suggestion that sounds more like an order. You really helped me by being candid about that.
Belinda Burston said…
Thank you Marilyn. Your post entitled, "WHY I keep reading your words" was such an encouragement. Thank you for always being honest and inspiring. I'm really glad that here, today, something came back to you. :)

Popular posts from this blog

Just Joy!

Our family has a standing date for Sunday dinner on the first Sunday of every month. Not that we don't see each other at any other time, but we all know that particular Sunday is pretty much for sure--and I look forward to it so much--the front door bursting open and our house being filled once more with the voices and vibrancy of six grandchildren and their parents. 

This week Spero, Brenda's new Australian Shepherd puppy came too, and met his extended family, leaving Molson at home to have a rest! He was duly adored by all of us.

He came with a dazzling array of toys and is proving a fast learner, already sitting on command and responding to Tori's training. I was so impressed at her technique of quickly rewarding a turnaround from any slight naughtiness with praise for "good sitting," or "good" any other desirable behaviour! 

Tippy had her hair cut stunningly and bravely short the day before; making a statement about who she is as a unique individual, o…

The Secret Adventures of Susan's Scottish Scarf

By Belinda (with a lot of help from Susan :))
I was saying goodnight to her at the front door this week when she told me. There was apparently more to the scarf around her neck than I knew. 
The scarf had been a gift from me for Susan's birthday on Tuesday December 18th. It had been her 60th; and that day I had treated her to lunch to celebrate. 
We met at a tiny restaurant, Port Soiree, in Schomberg,near her office. It was a restaurant neither of us had been to before and it turned out to be a gem, with artsy ambiance, amazing food, wonderful service and modest pricing. In other words, it was perfect!