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Friday, November 7, 2014

Making Pie Crust

Crumbling butter into flour, sugar salt, I think of  Mrs Gregory, my fist landlady. I was twenty, she was eighty-five or at least that is how old I felt like she was. She may have been younger.  Her apartment was next door to mine, above a sheet metal shop her husband owned.

Hoosier Mama Pie Shop, love pie. 

She was tall, elegant, and perfectly coiffed, and a bit sketchy on grammar. I was young, homesick, and very tight on funds. 

In the evenings, when I could bear the silence no longer, I would sometimes knock on her door. Helen, which was her first name and what I called her privately in my mind, though she never offered such intimacy to me, answered my knocks swiftly. Which always made me wonder, if she heard me coming, and was as eager to see me as I was to see another person.  Mrs. Gregory had never ventured to my door, and often seemed surprised that this new renter would end up at her's. 

On one particular evening, when Helen came to the door, her hands were covered in flour. She invited me in to her carpeted kitchen, "keeps the sound down" she said, when I queried "why carpet?" Carpeting in kitchens seemed counter intuitive to me. 

Waving her hands towards the table, "sit down", she said, "you can talk to me while I make pies." Obediently, I sat, happy to have an excuse to stay. All the while she talked to me, as she was a talker, she gently worked the butter into the flour,  Helen mostly talked about her sister, Lucille, as she occasionally threw in a little more butter, then a little more flour. 

I asked her what her recipe was. Mrs. Gregory looked up at me incredulously. 
"Recipe? you can't have a recipe for pie crust! You feel the ingredients, some-days you has to add more butter, some-days you has to add more flour. Your hands tells you the recipe, you have to listen to your hands!" 

The next evening, a knock startled me out of my loneliness, opening my door, I found, Mrs. Gregory, and a piece of pie waiting for me. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Longed-for beauty

It is autumn,
with its longed-for beauty

Burning bush outside my office window. 


all of which fuels an even
deeper longing

drawing closer
to each other.