Tag Archives: friends

Day 170: Friends

23 Sep

As you know, my daughter Alexandra came home a few days ago. Since then, we have had a wonderful time catching up and just enjoying her presence. It is in some ways as if she was never gone, but of course she was, and I am so happy to have her here again.

In the past few days, Alex has had the chance to connect with a few friends that she hasn’t seen in several years. One of those friends is Kerry, a woman that my daughter used to work with at a retail shop and also at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. They maintained a bond across the many miles that separated them – and that is a testament to their friendship.

In comparison, there are a number of people who were unable to keep in touch and that says a lot as well. As a parent, I am so grateful to those friends who have made the effort to stay connected because I know how much it meant to Alex.

Perhaps it’s the Mama Bear in me, but I still find myself wanting to hug the people that are kind to my children and wanting to shield them from the rest of the world. Does that protectiveness ever go away I wonder?

This afternoon I made Black and Blue Berry Lattice topped pie for Kerry. It is a delicious (if I do say so!) way of saying thank you for being such a good friend.

Day 149: Wendy

2 Sep

This morning I received an email from Wendy, a friend who lives in my neighborhood. She and I go to the same church and, at least for a while, we both had dogs. Her email stated that recently while out for a walk with her dog she tripped over an uneven sidewalk and suffered a broken a rib and she also broke a bone in her finger!

Tomorrow it will have been eight weeks since I broke a rib and I can tell you that it still hurts. My whole summer was affected by this seemingly small event and it is certain that Wendy will be uncomfortable (to say the least) for the next two months. Knowing this, I baked an Apple Blackberry Double Crust pie in the hopes that it would bring a smile to her face.

Wendy’s Pie looked just like this – right down to the sprinkling of sugar on top!

As I was preparing today’s pie I remembered that last year on Mother’s Day I was alone. My husband was away working, and both of my children were in Europe. Needless to say, I had no plans for the day. After church, Wendy came up to me and asked if I would like to come to her house for dinner. Her son, Walker, was going to cook and she would be delighted if I joined them. It was really nice to be included and I gladly accepted the invitation. As I recall, we all shared a very pleasant evening.

To me, that’s what friendship is all about: friends are there for one another. What that means may change from time to time, but there is a willingness to help one another in whatever way we can. It can be an offer to share a dinner or the simple gift of a pie. These gestures let us know that we are not alone; they remind us that we are loved. And that is so very important.

Wherever a man turns he can find someone who needs him. ~Albert Schweitzer

Day 102: Chocolate Cream Birthday Pie

17 Jul

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!

Day 81: Bob

26 Jun

Marionberry Pie

This morning I was invited to a brunch put on by my friends Mark and Leslie. There was a wonderful assortment of friends and foods and we settled in for a nice visit. A short time later, our friend Katrina arrived. It had been a while since we’d spoken and so we sat together and chatted for a while.

Katrina told me that she had learned some things recently that had helped her. Then she mentioned spending time with her neighbor Bob earlier today and how much his words had meant to her. I know what she means; it’s really nice when a friend helps you just by being there with you and listening to your story. Sometimes we need someone to point out things to us that are so obvious to everyone else but that we seem unable to see.

Immediately I wanted to make a pie for Bob for sharing his wisdom and compassion with Katrina, who then shared hers with me. I asked her if that would be possible and she thought it was and we made arrangements for me to deliver the pie later in the afternoon. When I arrived at Katrina’s house we discovered that Bob had gone out for a while. She called him (having just been given his cell number!) and told him that there was a surprise waiting at home for him.

Soon Bob came home and we walked to his house with the pie. He asked why I’d made him a pie and I tried to briefly explain my project and mentioned that I was making a pie everyday. “Everyday?” he asked. “Well, today is day 81” I replied. Bob stopped in his tracks and said, “Did you say 81? Did you know that I am 81 years old?”

No, I did not – but I love that Bob’s age and my pie gift to him had the same number. It’s the little coincidences like that that keep me thinking that this project is divinely inspired – and I am so very glad to be on this journey.

Day 76: Meredith

21 Jun

Guanajuato, Mexico

Meredith Reynolds has been my daughter Alex’s advisor/internship program coordinator for the past two years. Alexandra’s course of study took a very different turn when she opted to study in Denmark during her junior year at Southern Oregon University (SOU). When Alexandra decided to tackle an internship during her second year abroad (still in Denmark), Meredith was there to help her navigate the necessary paperwork to ensure that she was on track scholastically.

Copenhagen, Denmark
Meredith knows all about studying abroad. She has attained near-native fluency in Spanish language and Mexican Culture. She taught at the Universidad de Guanajuato for six years (from 1980-86). Guanajuato is the Sister City to Ashland, Oregon and there is a rich relationship between the two cities. In fact, my Alexandra “won” a contest when she was in 4th grade and was allowed to go (for free) to Guanajuato with a group of people from Ashland. Alexandra was 10 years old at the time but she was fearless and eager to go. I think that she was born knowing that she was a child of the world. I, on the other hand, did not get that memo.

It is wonderful that Meredith and Alexandra share a love of travel and cultures. Meredith has an amazing kinship with the people of Mexico, especially Guanajuato. Alexandra seems to have found that same kind of kinship in a small country 6,000 miles from the place in which she was born. I think that this is just a part of our ever changing world. And I count myself fortunate to have visited both Guanajuato and Denmark. What I have discovered is that with every new person that you meet you are given the opportunity to make a friend.

Today my friend Meredith was packing up her office. She is retiring from her position at SOU. I know that this is just a momentary pause for her for she has so much yet to give. I brought a quiche to Meredith today to thank her for all that she has done for my daughter and for all that she has done for Southern Oregon University. We are truly grateful for her passion and commitment and look forward to her next endeavor.

Day 45: Supporting a friend

22 May

Last night I was at Paschal Winery where my friend Darte’s art work was being shown. There were other artists there as well and the event was well attended. I was able to talk with Darte for a little bit but she was being sought out by others and I found myself walking around the gallery on my own. As I was walking around, I found friends there that I did not expect to see.  One such friend was a woman who I had met many years ago. We talked for a moment and then she asked, “So what have you been doing lately?” It was the perfect segue for me to talk about this project.  I took a few minutes to explain what I’ve been doing for the last 6 weeks with pies, quiches, etc.

My friend then asked if I would consider requests for pies. “Of course” I said.  For to me this project  is not about the pie.  It is about offering thanks … acknowledging effort… recognizing love.  I do these things with food, because that is what comes natural to me.  But what is most important is the feeling conveyed.  I want people to know that they are valued, that they are important, that I am grateful for their efforts.

My friend suggested that I honor her son and his wife.  For the past year, they have been through a very stressful period. I was glad to accommodate her request, and I took this opportunity to offer her son and his wife a small gift of a quiche. I want them to know that they are loved and that their tremendous efforts are recognized.

Day 40: Darte

17 May

I met Darte about fifteen years ago.  She was (and still is) an artist and she was getting married; I was a caterer and was thrilled to be asked to cater a wedding. We met and talked about what kinds of offerings she wanted to have at the reception. I liked that Darte gave me plenty of freedom to create a very special occasion.  In fact, I think it was a memorable event for both of us.

It is funny how you can live very near your friends but still find it hard to find time to visit with them.  Darte and I live less than 10 miles apart but we seldom see each other, and that just seems wrong. Why do we limit ourselves to occasional visits with friends when we can (and maybe should) find time to see them more often.  What important things are we doing? Or are we just lazy?

Tonight I tracked down Darte at a party and gave her a spinach and pepper quiche.  I think that sometimes artists find it hard to find time to cook because they are creating “works of art.”  Meanwhile, I am creating works of art as well – but my “art” is much more temporal.