A little more than a month ago I took a trip with my sister to begin the process of emptying our Dad’s condo in Florida. We thought the process would go faster, yet each time we picked up an item it would bring back a flood of memories. At first we were chiding ourselves for taking so long to complete the task. Soon, however, we came to the realization that we needed to take our time to honor the memories and feel the emotions that bubbled up. We needed to find joy in our sadness.
My Mom and Dad with me at 1 week old.
The day after I returned from that trip, I gave a pie making demo at the Ashland Emergency Food Bank. In the front row sat a very accomplished doctor. While I was preparing the pie dough and rolling out the crust, he asked lots of questions and was even taking notes. When I lifted the crust to place it in the pie dish, he was clearly amazed at how easy I’d made it look.
At that moment I stopped and asked him, “Dr. John, please tell me how many x-rays do you think you’ve read in your career?” He seemed perplexed but answered, “About 40,000.” I then replied, ” I am going to guess that you can read an x-ray a lot better than I can. And because I’ve made hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pie crusts, I can probably do it a little better than you. It just takes practice.”
The kind doctor laughed knowingly and then I encouraged the rest of the folks there to enjoy the process of learning to make pies. The cost of ingredients is nominal and if you screw up terribly, you’ve only lost a few dollars and maybe even learned a valuable lesson. More than likely though, you’ll end up with something tasty. I’ve given away more than 500 pies, and not one person has ever called to complain that their pie wasn’t perfect!
A Rustic Blueberry Peach Tart for our friends Russ and Sarah
In an article entitled “Seven Strange Questions to Help you Find your Life Purpose“, author, Mark Manson, asked this question: “WHAT IS TRUE ABOUT YOU TODAY THAT WOULD MAKE YOUR 8-YEAR-OLD SELF CRY?”
Manson goes on to explain that as kids we did things for the sheer joy of doing them and somewhere along the way to growing up we stopped doing them. I’ve been mulling about that question a lot and on our last camping I took along water colors and paper and painted a few pictures. I did not do this because I am hoping to become a famous artist but rather because it made me feel happy.
A Quiche Lorraine for Ed
If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, it is pretty clear that the world could use more happy people. While I don’t have the answers on how to fix all that is wrong, I do hope to encourage a few of you to remember your 8-year-old self and ask her what she misses doing now. Maybe she wishes you were painting, or dancing, or singing. Or maybe she wants you to spend some time in the kitchen baking someone a pie and spreading a little joy.
“Find where joy resides, and give it a voice far beyond singing. For to miss the joy, is to miss all.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson
P.S. A few weeks ago I met a woman named Sylvia at Sylvia Beach Hotel in Newport (what are the odds?). Soon we were talking about pies and she told me she knew a woman who gave away a pie a day for a year. I said… “But it was me who did that.” Afterwards, Sylvia sent me this link. In her Ted Talk, Vicki Hardin Woods says that I inspired her to give away a year of pies! How sweet is that?