Archive | July, 2012

Saying Goodbye

25 Jul

A few days ago I was reminded of Peggy, a woman I’d baked a quiche for last year.  I’ve not seen Peggy  since I delivered that quiche but  she lives near my friend Wanda and when I  bumped into Wanda at a meeting, I asked if she could tell me how Peggy was doing.  Wanda hesitated a moment and then she said, “She’s not doing very well.”

That conversation haunted me for a while.  Finally, yesterday I just “knew” that I should make another quiche for Peggy.  It was simple to do…I just sauteed some spinach and onions and then added some roasted peppers.  While that cooled I prepared a crust and arranged the vegetables, cheese and custard mixture inside and popped the quiche into the oven.  Once that was done, I called Wanda to confirm Peggy’s address and tell her of my plan.

When I told her that I wanted to bring a quiche to Peggy, Wanda said, “Honey, I don’t think she can eat that quiche.  She hasn’t had much of an appetite these last few days.”  Upon hearing this, I thought maybe my instincts were all wrong… but then I asked, “Is there someone with Peggy who might appreciate a quiche?”  And Wanda told me that Peggy’s daughter was there with her and she thought bringing her a quiche was a wonderful idea.

A little while later, I tapped on the door but no one answered.  Wanda had suggested that I just leave the quiche inside the front door and so I found a spot to leave it and walked back to my car.  But I couldn’t leave without explaining why I’d come and so I found a piece of paper and wrote about the only time I’d met Peggy and how pleased she’d been with the quiche, how honored I was to meet her, and how I wanted to visit her one more time.

As I opened the door to leave my note, I met Peggy’s daughter, Trisha, who didn’t seem bothered at all by my intrusion.  I briefly told her the reason for my visit, and then offered Trisha the quiche, which she gratefully accepted.  Then Trisha shared that she’d been with her Mom everyday for the past five weeks knowing full well that her time with her was coming to an end.  And as difficult as it was to do, it was clear that there was no place else that she would rather be.

A short while later, I was getting ready to leave and Trisha asked me if I worked outside of the home.  I told her that I catered sometimes but recently my kids have both left home and I was thinking of asking God (and anyone who was listening) for help finding a new job.  Then Trisha surprised me when she said, “Maybe you’re doing it right now.” As I walked to the car I thought, perhaps Trisha is right… maybe I am.

“A mother holds her children’s hands for a while, their hearts forever.” Author Unknown

Life, gratitude, and pie

14 Jul

Life feels so strange right now.  Just last Sunday my husband and I drove our daughter, Alexandra, to the airport so that she could get on a plane that would take her to Denmark.  Alexandra has flown to Denmark many times before, but this time was different in one big way: she did not have a return ticket.  She has gone to Denmark to work for e-conomic, an online accounting company.  She was an intern with this company for one year and will be working with their clients in the United Kingdom.

I know this is a pretty awesome gig for a new graduate and I am very proud of what Alexandra has accomplished.  I guess I just wish that Europe was a bit closer.  It’s hard to find yourself with an empty nest and realize that your little birds are hundreds… or thousands of miles away.  That’s a long way for a mama bird to fly to give a hug… or cook a meal.  And a part of me is finding that a little bit of a challenge.

On a brighter note, a week or so ago I was honored to be interviewed by Nadine Natour from National Public Radio.  It seems that NPR had decided to do a week-long segment about pies… and I was lucky enough to share a part of my pie journey.  It was really surreal to be included in their story… and even more fun to have friends across the country tell me that they heard me on their radio.  What a thrill!

Another bright spot in the last few weeks was having a chance to meet with representatives from Guanajuato, Mexico during their visit to Ashland for the 4th of July celebration.  As you may recall from one of my previous posts, the Ashland Rotary Club has worked to raise money to help the poor people of Guanajuato and when we visited that city in May, I saw Francesca, a young girl that we met five years before. It was a very happy moment for me because it was clear that our work had made a difference in her life.

Enrique, one of the Guanajuato representatives, told me that he would see Francesca and if I wanted to send her a card or letter, he would deliver it for me. And so the night before he left Ashland, I brought Enrique a small gift for Francesca – and yesterday I received an email from him with a couple of photos.  Clearly Francesca was delighted to be remembered!

What has all this to do with pies?  Well, not much I guess.  But since I was overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude I was definitely in a pie baking mood.  Yesterday, while I was baking a Strawberry Rhubarb pie, my friend Maylee sent me a message that she had play tickets and asked if I wanted them.  Of course I did!  And suddenly I knew that a warm Strawberry Rhubarb pie was going to go home with Maylee.  It was my way to thank her for her friendship and thoughtfulness.

And today… I made another pie.  This one was for Marian, a 93-year-old lady from church who was the only person who seemed upset that I had not brought her a pie during my “year of pies.”  I’ve thought about that for a while and felt that it  was about time to correct that situation.  Think about it… if it was within your power to make someone happy, with such a simple gesture,  wouldn’t you want to do so?

The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you.  ~John E. Southard

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. — Thornton Wilder

For Dee: A Very Special Teacher

2 Jul

About two weeks ago my husband, Emile, and I attended the SOREDI 25th Anniversary Annual Dinner.  At the dinner, some people were recognized for helping SOREDI get its start, while others were honored for creating businesses that have prospered in southern Oregon.

Emile is the General Manager of the Medford Coop and since 2012 was declared the International Year of Cooperatives by the United Nations,  one of the groups that was honored that night were the representatives of the cooperatives in the Rogue Valley.  Those four coops are: The Ashland Food Coop, The Medford Food Coop, The Grange Coop, and the Rogue Federal Credit Union.

All of the coop representatives sat at one table and it was quite a nice group.  I sat next to Barry Robino,  the CEO of the Grange Coop.  It seems that Emile had told Barry about my pie adventure and he asked me about it.  When I told him that most of my children’s teachers had received pies, Barry mentioned that his wife, Dee, was a kindergarten teacher.  And then he told me a story.

First some background:  Every year, Barry’s wife, Dee, creates a book for each and every one of her students.  This book is for the children to keep and it is all about them.  That is an amazing feat when you consider that Dee has two kindergarten classes and upwards of 42 students to do this for!

Now for the story: It happened that one night, one of Dee’s students was getting ready for bed and while most of the time his Mom was the one who read to him, on this particular night, his Dad was the one reading to him. The young boy had selected the book Dee had created and his Dad began to read it to him.  At one point in the book the Dad noticed that his son was crying and he stopped reading and asked him what was wrong.  The son replied, “Oh it’s okay Dad.  I always cry at this part of the story.”

I thought, “What a wonderful thing Dee has done!  She created a book that really touched this child… what a gift.  He will treasure that book and remember it forever.”  And since I have been thinking about that story for the last few weeks, I finally realized that I needed to make a pie for Dee… to thank her for her love and commitment to her students and for going the extra mile to make their kindergarten experience so special.  I only wish that all children could have such a wonderful start to their educational career.

raspberry Rhubarb Pie

Teaching is leaving a vestige of one self in the development of another.  And surely the student is a bank where you can deposit your most precious treasures.  ~Eugene P. Bertin