Archive | December, 2011

Day 262: Christmas Eve

24 Dec


With both of our children in Denmark for the holidays we thought that this might be an opportunity to visit the Oregon coast.  We love walking on the beach and there is always the chance of seeing whales and so we packed up the car and headed to Gold Beach… but not before baking a Three Berry Pie.  I did not have a recipient in mind but knew that we would find someone along the way.  And we did! 
As we approached the agriculture inspection station at the border between Oregon and California I knew I wanted to gift my pie to the agent working there.  It was after 6PM on Christmas Eve and he was on duty checking cars for fruit that should not cross state line.  Who better to surprise with a pie?
And after the agent asked if we had any fruit I told him about my pie project and asked him if he would share a pie with his coworkers.  He said he would and so I gave agent Greg a pie tonight and wished him a Merry Christmas.  And I send you all my warmest wishes for a Merry Christmas as well.


Day 261: A soldier named Luke

23 Dec

Yesterday I stopped by the Oregon National Guard Armory and was met at the door by Major Lee. He asked how he could help me and I told him about how I’d been giving away pies and how I hoped to give a pie to a National Guard soldier for the holidays. He looked at me and told me he’d heard about my pie journey and then he said I looked familiar to him. That’s when I read the name on his uniform and realized that we had been students together in the Master in Management Program at Southern Oregon University a few years ago.

That is how Major Lee and I reconnected. And after hearing my story, Major Lee suggested that I give my pie of the day to a young guardsman who had just moved to Ashland. Major Lee actually introduced me to the soldier yesterday and told him that I would be stopping by today. That new soldier nodded and accepted a meeting that he might not have fully grasped.

Today I made an Apple Crumb Crust Pie for Luke, an Oregon National Guardsman. He does not know me at all but when I presented him with his pie he was genuinely pleased. At one point he said, “It’s nice to know that people still do things like this.” And then he said, “You’ve made my day.” And that is all that I could wish for… and in my heart of hearts I hope that there will always be people who are willing and able to do things like this – because I think we should always recognize and honor the soldiers that serve us for the effort it takes to do this seems so small compared to the service that a soldier gives.

Day 260: Shey

22 Dec

Today is the birthday of a young woman named Sheylan. She is the daughter of our friends Dana and John and we met her about 27 years ago when we took our first trip through Oregon together. Shey must have been about 1 1/2 years old at the time; she was absolutely adorable and seemed fascinated by my dangly silver earrings. I wish that I could show you a snapshot of that visit but unfortunately it is buried deep in a box of old photos.

It has been an honor to watch Shey over the years that we have known her. She has always been smart and thoughtful and caring and capable. Today her Dad told me that one of his favorite memories of Shey was when he was gate-keeping at a ski race and Shey skied by and “face planted” at his gate. He was amazed when she got up laughing at what had just happened; what a great attitude!

I remember how thrilled we all were when we learned that Shey was to spend a year studying in France as part of her college courses. What a great experience for her and how grown up she was when she returned from that year away. She sort of paved the way for the rest of the kids in our circle to move outside of their comfort zones.

A few years later, Shey went to Africa to teach Aid’s awareness through education and soccer. Not many people are willing to do as much as she did to help others. Shey is such a fearless woman and such a positive force that you can only begin to imagine all the good she can do.

Shey is not only a dynamic and capable woman, but now she is also a mother to a small boy named Zeba. And from what I have observed, she is a wonderful mother and she is still a force to be reckoned with.

Today I made a Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie for Sheylan to celebrate her birthday and to wish her a lifetime of happiness. May she find a way to leave her indelible mark on the world.

Day 259: Karyn’s Quiche

21 Dec

Yesterday was a pretty hectic day, culminating in my catering a 50th Anniversary Party for a friend. After such a busy day, I knew that I needed to get busy making a pie early in the day because I wasn’t sure how long my energy would hold out.

With temperatures in the high twenties (28 when I woke up!) I thought making a quiche sounded like a good (and warm!) idea and so I gathered together these ingredients: italian sausage, mushrooms, peppers, and sharp cheddar cheese. In no time at all I had the quiche in the oven and then prepared to run my errands.

One of those errands involved bringing a gift of cat food to Rhonda at the Ashland Elk’s Lodge. Rhonda does pet therapy with veterans at the domiciliary in White City and she promised that she would bring my gift to a man out there who has a cat named Pearl. I thought that Rhonda would be a perfect pie recipient but I had a nagging suspicion that she was a vegetarian.

When I got to the Lodge I saw Karyn in the office and she told me that Rhonda was already there. I thanked her and went off to find Rhonda. When I did locate her I gave her the cat food and showed her the quiche and my suspicions were confirmed: Rhonda is a vegetarian! Even though she could not eat the pie, Rhonda smiled and told me that she would find someone special to give it to. And I knew that she would find just the right person… because she is really good at that!

Later today I received an email from Karyn. She told me that she had been feeling like she was in the doldrums this morning and she was delighted when Rhonda gifted the quiche I had made to her. What a great choice Rhonda! I think that Karyn is the glue that holds our lodge together and she certainly deserves a pie! Thank you Karyn for the work you do for the Ashland Elks… and thank you Rhonda for your caring and perceptive spirit.

Day 258: Barbara again!

20 Dec

How funny that I have made a pie for three Barbara’s in a row! Today’s Barbara was suggested to me by my friend Jack. He mentioned that he held this lady in high esteem because she did the right thing “just because” it was the right thing to do.

I think that when we see people doing the “right thing” we notice it… because really, nowadays, it’s not very common. Just a few days ago someone said to me, “whatever happened to people with a conscience?” A conscience… wow. Wasn’t that who Jiminy Cricket was for Pinocchio?

I remember when I was about 7 years old and I was sitting in the living room of my mother’s friend’s house. There on the coffee table was a silver dime… and I don’t know what made me do it, but I took it. And from the scolding I got you would have thought that I had stolen all the gold from Fort Knox! Did that teach me a lesson? You better believe it did!

Many years later, on a shopping excursion with my two small children, I was able to instill that lesson once again. As I was paying at the cashier I noticed that my daughter was acting a bit strangely but could not discern what was going on. That was until we stepped outside the store and I noticed that her pocket was “full”. I asked what she had in her pocket and she said, “nothing!”

Then I reached into her pocket and took out a small bag of candy. She seemed incredulous… as if it had appeared there by magic. I marched her right back into the store to the same register and waited for the cashier so that I could return the candy. When he finally did recognize me and heard my story, “I am so sorry… but my daughter took this candy “by accident”…” he said, “oh, it’s okay.” And it took a lot for me to say, “No. It is not okay. My daughter took this candy without paying and she is very sorry for doing that and (glaring at her) she will never do that again!”

I think that if there were more people out there who had Mama’s who held their feet to the fire, well maybe there would be more people feeling a little bit more accountable. Maybe there would be less crime… or maybe we would be more considerate of one another. It just makes sense that we all need to be held accountable for what we do; we all need to have a conscience. And it’s likely that ours won’t be as cute as Jiminy Cricket, but if it helps us to do the right thing, well, that’s more than good enough.

Day 257: Another Barbara

19 Dec

It was many years ago when we met Barbara and her husband Bill for the first time. We became acquainted with them through our relatives, and liked them immediately. One of my fondest memories of them was when I told Barbara and Bill that I was going back to Staten Island for a week with my kids, and that I had no one to tend to the rabbit that we had at the time. Then Barb and Bill said that they would watch our rabbit for us. Now I ask you, who does that? Not many, and I was really touched that they really were willing to watch our rabbit (at their house no less!) for us while we were away.

Not only did they watch our rabbit… but Bill built him a hutch while we were gone! It was such a gift to us… and our bunny… and I will always remember the thoughtfulness of that gift.

A few years ago Bill passed away and then Barbara moved back to Ohio to be closer to her family. Though I understood her reasons for leaving, I missed seeing her smiling face. And then Barb decided to move back to Ashland and I thought, “How wonderful for us that she is here!”

Yesterday a friend told me that Barb was experiencing some pain and she was also having trouble getting around. I offered to bring her a quiche and so today I prepared one with spinach, red pepper and white cheddar cheese. I wanted to send something that was tasty but also contained ingredients that might enhance her strength. And of course, I put in as much love as I could for Barb is a very gracious lady and also a good friend.

Day 256: Barbara

18 Dec

Sometimes a pie recipient comes to me by way of recommendation and, while that is true of today’s recipient, Barbara was on my list all along. Barbara is a member of my church, First Presbyterian of Ashland, and she is so involved that I needed to recognize her.

One of her many talents is creating flower arrangements. They are exquisitely crafted and to look at her you’d never know how much effort she puts into them for Barbara always looks cool, calm and collected. How she does it I don’t know. This past spring I attended a meeting where Barbara had designed the tabletop decorations. I was in awe of how she had taken a few sea shells and some other simple items and had made gorgeous centerpieces for each table. When I mentioned how lovely they were, Barbara was so humble. She was just sharing her gifts with us and that was that.

At one point I asked Barbara if she would consider giving a demonstration of her flower arranging skills – because I for one would love to be able to do what she does – and she shook her head as if to say , “It’s nothing really.” But I think that perhaps Barbara doesn’t know how amazingly talented she really is or how much we value the gifts that she brings to all the tasks that she takes on. I for one would be thrilled if she would share what she knows with the rest of the women in the church community.

Today I made an Apple Raisin Lattice Top pie for Barbara to thank her for all that she does so graciously for others without ever expecting anything in return. She is a wonderful role model and I hope that she knows how much we all appreciate her kind and giving spirit.