FREEDOM and Reflections on Pie

So what do you write to a stranger? Aside from starting the letter – Hey Stranger? Then you wax poetic about restaurants and food and lines for food. Because everyone can relate to a story about food, right? After all, food isn’t just fuel, it’s art; it’s a hobby –it’s war. Food is war.

Take Elijah, for example. He tells me, with his dark face and lips hardly moving, mumbling slightly—I lean in—Elijah says: take the pie. The pie? I ask. What about the pie? Well, he mumbles a little—I note the grey at his temples. He still keeps his hair short, military style.

“Y’all serve pie two times a day. Lunch and Dinner.”


Well, you know we have diabetics here, and they shouldn’t have pie served twice a day.

I sit back and look at him.

“No one makes you take the pie, Elijah. Really, you can choose to have pie if you want it. Once, twice a day. Or not at all.”

“You shouldn’t be serving it,” he responds.

“Elijah, it’s about self-determination. We give you the choice. Take a piece of pie or don’t.”

“No really, I think y’all should only serve it once a day.”

I sigh. I lean back and I tell him about my grandfather who was in a nursing home at the end of his life. His greatest joy those final days was the scoop of ice cream they offered him on special occasions. I sum it up with—So Elijah, there might be some guys who want pie at lunch or who want pie at dinner. Why should I take that away from them?

Food is war.

Elijah is battling with himself—he forgets to talk about how he wants to vary the menus, how he’s asked for field trips to the Culinary Academy so they can all try the gourmet eggs béarnaise.

[Food is love.]

Elijah is on a mission to save everyone from the very pie that he can’t resist. He’ll tell you he’s a diabetic. He’ll tell you he’s on dialysis. He’s fighting a fight to stay alive. What he won’t tell you is how often the pie has won. He won’t tell you how many times he’s given in to the pie. He just wants you to vanquish the enemy on his behalf.

Remove the pie.

What’s next? We serve yogurt. We serve ice cream. You can even get a decent cup of coffee or two or three. No one will force feed you—at least, not until you move to a higher level of care—and they won’t force-feed you there, either. Rather, you’ll have a nurse sit across from you, with a cup of applesauce, attempting to feed you so you don’t choke. And if you don’t like applesauce, they’ll try something else.
And if you are on chewing restrictions, which means your jaw no longer works the way it was designed, you don’t get a nice slice of pie. Ever again. You get pureed pie. Pureed meat. Pureed something. You don’t get to chew a piece of tangy apple, in its own juice, spiced with a little cinnamon, topped with a bit of tender flaky pastry. You won’t have the opportunity to let the butter crust melt on your tongue.
Why the hell would we stop serving pie to people who can still savor it?
Life’s too short to take away the pie.

Seriously, Elijah, what were you thinking?

This is a piece written in an Amherst Writers & Artists session. All works are deemed to be fiction. For more information about Pat Schneider’s non-profit arts organization, visit Amherst Writers & Artists.


Morning Running Thoughts

The thing about running (or jogging) is that, when you are getting ready to go do it, it doesn’t sound like fun. At least, not at 5:30 AM when you didn’t sleep so well and you know…

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Finders Keepers

My Sunday gratitude:  years ago I was at the lowest of the low as I had recently had a major setback on something I had been working  on for some time. I recall I got out of my vehicle at work and stepped on something shiny. It was a medal. It was a Mother Mary religious medal that had a prayer on it, likely blessed by a priest. I tried to reconnect the medal with its owner, but it stayed with me. If ever I had a sign, that was it. My problem soon resolved, and I moved on with an encouraged heart.

The back of the found medal

Today, I stepped out of the vehicle in a local parking lot where I was going for a run. I nearly stepped on two 5 dollar bills. You might say that money and medals are very different things. I have always viewed a found penny as a message from a HP of prosperity and blessings. Some groups think of the number 5 as the number for change. Since I received two 5ers, I think there’s much change ahead. I’m hoping it’s generally good, as most things are in the end. Thankful for the message from my HP.

Also, I discovered today when teaching English idioms to the spouse, I never finished the phrase “Finders Keepers” — I would stop there. He was today years old when one of our kids taught him the rest of the phrase. The whole saying is “Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers.”

I don’t like to focus on losing, so I left that out. 

Hope your Sunday is a win-day.

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Blood and Circuses

I first became acquainted with Phryne Fisher via the TV series “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries” that stars Australian actors Essie Davis and Nathan Page. I loved the original series.

Eventually, I got around to the books that inspired the series, and they have been quite fun to read. The most recent one I picked up: Blood and Circuses, book 6, was no less entertaining. 

Blood and Circuses

Phryne is, as usual, a daredevil. And a bit more promiscuous than I recall. Perhaps it has something to do with the circus and the carnival. I usually don’t equate physical intimacy with the circus, but Kerry Greenwood created a few unusual scenarios. In fact, a couple of times, they might have been too unusual for me!

No matter, the book was a generally quick read and I did keep coming back to see what Phyrne would do next. There were interesting side characters and the outcomes seemed just and righteous.

This is book 6 in a 21 book series. I hope the next ones are just as entertaining.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I gave it 4 out of 5 stars because I did get a little creeped out by at least one sex scene.

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The Lives of Saints by Leigh Bardugo

I picked up The Lives of Saints by Leigh Bardugo because, well, the cover caught my eye, and I still occasionally like a good fairy tale. It was in the new book section of my library, and it is strangely reminiscent of many books I’ve seen in my travels in Eastern Europe. Not to mention many of the place names are modified real place names in Russian.

The cover of the book. For the record, that is NOT Cyrillic or any alphabet script I am familiar with.


Photo of the inside of the book

The art was good. The stories were generally good, although some were truncated to where the reader might shrug at the end. No matter.

The book was a relaxing evening read. Impersonal and at times I wondered f there really was a patron saint like the one described. I gave it 4 stars mainly because it was restful, the art was good, and I didn’t have to work too hard to read it. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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