Today is the birthday of my nephew Aaron. He lives on the eastern side of the country and so in order to get it to him today, I had to mail him a pie two days ago. And since I have not figured out how to mail a fruit pie (and likely won’t before this project is over) I chose to mail him a chocolate chip cookie pie… much like the pie I sent to my cousin Darren a few weeks ago. It is more or less a big cookie… but hopefully one of the best cookies that he has ever had.
My husband and I moved away from the east coast shortly after Aaron was born and we did not get to spend much time with him as he was growing up. His Mom, Amanda, did send us many pictures so that we could see how he’d grown, etc. The photo above, was one of those pictures taken at school, and it was tucked up in with other photos in our hallway for many years.
Last year Aaron married Emily. Unfortunately, we could not make it to the east coast for the wedding but we saw many of the beautiful photos of the wedding and the new couple taken by Aaron’s brother (and photographer) Christopher… none of which I can get my hands on at this moment! Luckily, Amanda sent us a photo of the newlyweds, taken with her last summer. You can see that cute little Aaron has become quite a handsome man.
Aaron, we send you our best wishes for a very happy birthday… and wish you a wonderful year to come!
Family faces are magic mirrors looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future.
— Gail Lumet Buckley
Victoria and my daughter have been friends since they were in grade school. They were similar in several ways: they had red hair and freckles, they loved to make art projects, and they were smart and liked to do well in school. Now they are young women who are smart, beautiful, funny, and caring. When I see them together, I feel optimistic about the future of the planet.
One day when she was about 5, Victoria came to our house to play. As dinnertime approached, Alexandra asked Victoria to eat with us. She said that she needed to ask permission first, so she called home and then reported that her Mom had said it was okay. After dinner, her Mom, Karen, came to pick Victoria up. She shared that when Victoria had called her she had said, “Mom they’re having macaroni and cheese for dinner… and it didn’t come out of a box. It’s a casserole!” I was honored to have been held in such high esteem by a small child.
Tomorrow Victoria will turn 23 years old, so tonight I brought a Chocolate Cream Pie to her house. I thought it might be nice to start her birthday celebration a bit early since tomorrow’s schedule sounded like it was already pretty full. However, at the time I delivered the pie, I forgot to say this: “Dear Victoria, may the coming year bring you all the joy and happiness you deserve. Happy, Happy Birthday!”
“Some people make your laugh a little louder, your smile a little brighter, and your life a little better.”— Unknown
Today as I was driving through town I thought of a friend who I had not seen in a while and wondered how he was. As I approached the street where I turn to go home I saw an amazing sign announcing a yard sale. If you know me at all, you know how much I love a good yard sale and decided, “If the sign is that nice, this sale must be amazing!”
In just a few minutes I was at the sale – which turned out to be at the house of the friend I’d been thinking about! I got out and looked around and we talked a bit and then he told me that his daughter just had had a birthday four days ago. “But I always make her birthday cake!” I thought to myself, and then I asked, “How about if I make her a birthday pie?” And that is how I came to make a Chocolate Cream Pie for Jacque’s birthday (a few days after the fact).
I took about two dozen of these “Newman’s Own” chocolate sandwich cookies and crushed them in my cuisinart and added three tablespoons of melted butter to the mix, pressed it all into a pie pan and baked it at 350 for 10 minutes. While the crust was baking, I made the chocolate pie filling. The most important ingredient? Good quality chocolate!
Lastly, I poured the cooled pudding into the crust and topped it off with sweetened whipped cream and more shaved chocolate. Totally decadent and fit for a queen (or a young lady who has just turned 13). Later I received a text with these words, “Pie has been devoured in ecstasy with moans of delight!” What a great message! I wish you a very Happy Birthday Jacque!
Last week I shared what happened when I decided to ride my bicycle to church. My day did not turn out as planned: instead I was hit by a car, spent time in the emergency room, and found out that I had a broken rib. A few days later at the doctors office, one of the doctor’s staff, Tiffany, asked me about the age of the driver of the car. I told her my guess and she said that the driver’s age would be on the crash report. And as it turned out, the driver’s birthday was today.
When I relayed this information to my friends and family, several immediately suggested that I bake a pie for Tom, the man who had hit me. Several others thought that this was going a bit too far with my pie project. Well, this morning I resolved to bake an an apple pie and present it to Tom.
I was a bit nervous about my decision and so I asked my son to come along with me. When we approached Tom’s door, he called out, “knock knock” because he had heard our footsteps. When Tom came to the door, he greeted us. I said “I don’t know if you remember me.” He said “Anyone carrying a pie can’t be all bad.” And then I told him how we had met. Immediately he apologized and I told him quickly that I had a broken rib but then I said, “and from the police report I found out that today is your birthday and so I made you a pie. Happy Birthday.” It took a moment before he responded, ” I am genuinely touched by your gesture. This means a lot to me.”
We spent a few minutes talking about baking, about life and children. He said that since I had baked something for him, he wanted to give us some of the Scottish Shortbread he had baked (which was delicious). Then he told us about a trip he was planning to take along the Alaskan Marine Highway. Tom told us how he hoped that his brother would accompany him on this voyage. It sounded like it would be a wonderful vacation.
I am very glad that I decided to bring Tom a pie. It was a sincere act of reconciliation; of forgiveness. I wish him an amazing adventure in Alaska – and hope that we meet again sometime – but hopefully not by accident.
Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heal that has crushed it.
When I first visited Ashland in the early eighties, one of the first people that I was introduced to was Jay. Jay worked at a local restaurant and was kind of a celebrity. He was living in a small “house” affectionately referred to as the “love shack.” Jay knew all that was going on around town and knew where the people in the know were. I guess you could say that he was plugged into this community.
Jay seemed to know everyone and has friends in many places. I heard a story that when Meryl Streep was in the Rogue Valley filming “The River Wild” a friend of Jay’s spoke about him to Ms. Streep. Not long after, Ms. Streep stopped by the restaurant where Jay was working just to say hello. The guy has a certain je ne sais quoi about him!
For a while, I worked alongside Jay. He was a waiter and I worked in the kitchen making special desserts. One special memory that we share was when we delivered food to the Britt Festival for a special show that benefitted a local not for profit organization. I was asked to make a birthday cake for Jackson Browne which was in itself an honor. Then Jay and I were given backstage passes and were privileged to serve dinner to Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Brown and John Trudell. It was truly an amazing night.
It’s been a busy week and somehow I did not find out it was Jay’s birthday until a few days after the fact. Today, I made Jay a Quiche Lorraine and brought it to him. He’s been my friend for 25 years and we have shared a lot in that time. I want to thank him for his friendship, wish him a very Happy Birthday, and hope that he has many happy years to come.