As I was putting the apple pie together this morning, I was remembering pie in my early childhood. My mom has always made the best pies I ever tasted anywhere. I have a photo of me looking on as she rolled out her perfect pastry ... somewhere. I was about four I think. When I was eight or nine, I was making my first pie. I put some ingredients together, then ran in the other room to ask Mom something. I remember saying, "I'd better get back to my flour and water before it turns into paste." My mom was horrified. You can't mix the water in before you cut in the shortening! We threw it away and started over, this time with Mom supervising. My brother, J.P. put it well one Thanksgiving: "In your pie, cinnamon isn't a condiment; it's an ingreeeedient!"
Pie is probably the most important part of Thanksgiving to me. Today I'm making Mom's apple, of course, and a pumpkin, of course, and a key lime for Will, the non-traditionalist. I wish I had people coming over so I could make cherry and pecan and blueberry and mincemeat. Except I'm glad nobody's coming over because then I'd have to clean my house. Holidays are a bit of a toss-up now-a-days, with the house in disrepair, the budget very tight, the psychiatric disorders that are unpredictable, and my physical limitations -- I have to constantly remind myself that I can accomplish one third of what I used to be able to do, and I just have to live with that.
So the house is messy, uh, I mean cozy and lived-in, the stress level is low, and it's starting to smell like pies baking. I'm still in my bathrobe and sipping my second cup of coffee. The sun is streaming in through the kitchen window, giving me a great excuse not to do dishes yet because it's too bright. We're optimistic about brownie and fudge sales and hope that we can pay a little of the start-up funds back to our household budget this month.
All in all, we're very blessed, and I am constantly thankful for the strong, supportive people in my life, especially Mom who may not be making pies this week, but does tend to sneak a little money into my account fairly regularly. I know I'll never have to live on the street, and that makes all the difference.
It all comes back to my Mom. I have her love and support, but I also have her optimism, her strong will, her stubbornness, her ability to roll with the punches, and her unwavering dedication to family. And her pie-making talent! Here's to you, Mom. You make me grateful every day.