Potato Pie Philosophy

Nov 1, 2011 by

“What a good mom am I!” read my facebook status as I, nearly bursting from the secret of it all, covertly prepared my son’s favorite – sweet potato pie – for he and his wife to enjoy during their brief, two-day visit to Seattle.

The day before, I ran to the market to get all of the ingredients I’d need to cook up happy yesterdays and blissful memories of days gone by when the smell of sugar, butter, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, evaporated milk, eggs, and sweet potato wafted through through my kitchen, tempted Ryan’s stomach and filled his heart with oven-baked evidence of how well he was loved by his flour covered momma. Without exception, whenever I bake sweet potato pies, it’s in pairs with one designated just for Ryan in a sort of unspoken understanding between him and his father, brother and, well, everyone else. He loves those pies. And I love making them for him.

While they were still in the sky, flying through the air from Tucson to Seattle, I measured, stirred, beat and tasted my way to a delicious filling and an easy, doughy crust. As I put the pies into an oven, as smile rested on my face. “They’ll be so surprised!” I couldn’t wait . . . but I did wait . . . around 10 minutes too long. I got sidetracked, ultimately, by a brief phone call from my husband, Ryan’s father, that supplanted the pies from my pea brain and shoved them out of my focus. “Damn it!” I said hanging up the phone. “Damn it, damn it, damn it!” I pulled out the pies, blackened from the over baking and my heart sunk. “Nicole!”

I glanced up at the clock, beaming an ominous green which indicated that, wait, I have time . . . barely . . . but time to, well, run to the store to get the sugar, butter, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, evaporated milk, eggs, and sweet potato to try again, and I did. And this time? Yeah, they burned again, with another phone call from Marc which distracted me. This time, there were tears. I looked at the pies and the blurring from the water in my eyes did nothing to improve their appearance. I failed. My intentions were good, but not enough.

There were reasons for my pie failure. I haven’t made one since moving to Seattle. I mean, Ry lives in Tucson. I used a tin foil pie pan instead of the glass one that I normally use because, well, the kids were staying in a hotel room after all and would need to toss it, right? And, let’s not even get started on the sea level adjustments necessary coming from the Rocky Mountain state. I sunk.

I begrudgingly packed a pie, the lesser burned of the two, into a duffle bag and drove to meet the babies at their hotel. “It’s the thought that counts, Nicole,” I told myself crossing the bridge. After hugs, with a near apology I produced their pie. Tara, my sweet daughter-in-love assured me that I was the sweetest mom-in-love she’s ever had and Ryan, though the disappointment was obvious on his face, smiled in appreciation and amusement.

Life is like that sometimes, isn’t it? The things we once did so easily, so frequently and with so much joy can suddenly become impossible and unfortunate sources of disappointments and failure. We change, our environments change, and our pies sometimes suffer the consequences. Thank God for do overs, adjustments and a pinch of grace here with a sprinkle of faith there. Lesson learned.  Be flexible. What worked before might not work now or any more.  Be vigilant. Don’t take for granted what you think you know, but stay in the now, in the “this time.”  And, finally, don’t burn the damn pies.  Too bad the pies didn’t taste as good as the lesson they taught me.

Peace and Blessings,

Nicole Walters

Related Posts


Share This

1 Comment

  1. bernisha

    I love the story.really sweet

Leave a Reply