October 22, 2014
I was eating oatmeal with raisins and cinnamon at the café this morning and listening to a nice young man do a monologue on deer hunting and deer sausage and deer salami and deer meat sticks and deer back-strap steaks. And there was coffee talk and bacon talk and a fat guy on a cell phone so loud we all heard his friend on the other end blathering about inventory.
But all talk ceased when the Golden Boy Pie truck pulled up. Pie is sacred in these parts. I have to say, Golden Boy pies do not stack up to homemade but they’ll do in a pinch of your love handles.
I was standing at the counter, paying my bill when the golden girl sisters, Barbie and Emma, began to unbox the pies and place them on a table in the kitchen. A table laden with pie is a stunning sight, the color scheme a tribute to autumn: brown nut pie, black pie, pie with whipped cream topping, yellow pie, red pie, blue pie. There was no deer pie.
“Oh me, oh my, love that country pie.” A girlfriend of mine once set me straight on Bob Dylan’s ode to pie when I foolishly waxed poetic on rhubarb, and she lifted her skirt and showed me peach pie, and I have been a fan of peach pie ever since.
My Just Desserts, in downtown Alton, makes its own pies in the basement kitchen. Their chocolate pecan pie is to die for. I’m not kidding. It is written in my will that Anne, the owner of the restaurant is to stuff chocolate pecan pie in my mouth on my deathbed.
Abraham Lincoln sat in what is now the restaurant dining room, when he was getting ready to walk down to the corner and tear Stephen Douglas a new one in the final debate. Back then, republicans were liberals and democrats not so much. But they agreed on one thing: Pie.
The Quilt Queen stuffs Farmer Orville and me with her homemade rhubarb pie. She is threatening to introduce me to her apple pie and her pumpkin pie, and I, weak in resolve and with a bad ticker, rehearse my lines for the refusal of pie, health reasons, you know, but really I just like being begged. And I like to eat pie.
Rhubarb is God’s vegetable. Jesus, in Mathew, Chapter 7, feeds the crowd fish. Some ungrateful bastard shouts, “What, no pie?” Jesus later turns water into wine and the wedding guests begin to discuss what pie goes with a good red. “Verily, I declareth that pinot noir doth complement thy gooseberry.”
It is a golden day, bright and high skyed, and the golden girls cut pies and the Golden Boy pie truck rides the back roads and makes people’s pieholes and tummies happy, and I imagine the truck driver stopping somewhere, soybean fields his camouflage, and climbing in the back of the truck and diving into banana cream.
The only mar on this glossy day is the return of the fake ladybugs from China or Japan, I forget which, and they bite and they fill up my house and smell like almonds when Scout the Cat crunches them, so I’m taking Quilt Queen a bucket of beetles for ladybug pie.
Why do I have a sudden craving for peaches?