Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Cherry Pie

Staring out the dining room window as the sunset sent orange and scarlet fingers across the horizon, Esther Hasbrook sighed. She ignored the laptop sitting in front of her on the long oak table. After months of being confined to home by the pandemic sweeping the world, she had trouble resurrecting the creativity that had kept her writing for decades. How was she ever going to meet the deadline for her column in the Seasoned Citizens Gazette, the weekly journal she published for her neighbors in the senior mobile home park? The words simply refused to come. 


Her gaze wandered to her prize cherry tree. Asher had planted it on their wedding day. Cherry pie had been his favorite, and they shared a home-baked one every year on their anniversary. This year would be a little different because Asher had slipped away in his sleep in the wee morning hours fifty-five years and one day after their wedding. In three days she would celebrate her first anniversary without him.



Those days passed in a flurry of picking and pitting and baking and early dawn deliveries. Sitting at the same spot in the dining room and staring out the window, she wiped away a tear trickling down her cheek. An overwhelming gratitude for the Anderson boys next door had overcome her. Two days before, the teenagers had climbed the ladders to pick the ripe fruit, carried full buckets to the carport, and poured them in the plastic tubs by the back door. She began working as soon as the first cherries arrived, and by nightfall she'd pitted the last one.


Yesterday morning, the baking began. One, two, three pies . . . thirteen, fourteen, fifteen. Then she stopped. Fresh from the oven, each pie filled a disposable pan that would be covered with a heavy paper lid after it cooled. Aromas of sweetness, spices, and browning dough wafted out the open kitchen window. She could almost hear Asher calling her from the back yard.


"Is that pie ready yet, Essie? It sure is smellin' good from out here."


She listened intently, but he didn't call again. Her mind was playing tricks on her. That seemed to happen a lot these days.


The kitchen telephone rang. That must be Matilda Peterson. She's the only person I know who'd call me at six o'clock in the morning.


"Good morning, Tillie."


"How'd you know it was me?"


"Nobody else calls me at this hour."


For a moment Matilda remained silent. "You've been up to your old tricks again, haven't you, Essie?"


"Excuse me?" She did her best to sound innocent. "I don't know what you mean."

"You went on an early morning pie delivery mission, didn't you? Nobody makes cherry pie like you do, Essie Hasbrook. The one I found on my porch a few minutes ago definitely came from you."

Esther suppressed a laugh. "Guess I can't fool you, can I?"

"Nope. I've already had two pieces—small ones, of course. Did you keep a pie for yourself?"

"Oh yes. It's our wedding anniversary, and I had to make one for Asher. I'll eat his piece right along with mine. Then it's almost like he's here with me."

"Thank you for inviting me to join your celebration. I suspect you'll be getting several calls from others before this morning is over." She hesitated a moment. "You're a good neighbor, Essie. All of us need some extra TLC because we're housebound during this awful pandemic. You're doing more than your share to cheer us up."



Esther heard the click on the other end of the land line and hung up the receiver. Sudden inspiration drove her back to the laptop. An unexpected spring returned to her arthritic fingers, and the words flowed. 


Asher's cherry pies had shooed away her writer's block. The reluctant column materialized on her monitor with surprising speed. It would be finished on time.


Editor Linda Lane has returned to her first love—writing—while maintaining her editing work. Her novels fall into the literary category because they are character driven rather than plot driven, but their quick pace reminds the reader of genre fiction. They also contain elements of romance, mystery, and thrillers. You can contact her through her websites: LSLaneBooks.com and DenverEditor.com.

13 comments :

  1. What a wonderful story, Linda. I loved it! That's all.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gee thanks, now I'm hungry for cherry pie, writing, and ... well. Great story! Loved it

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks, Shannon. Cherry pie has always been a favorite.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow! I love this! You pretty much hit the nail on the head with the way I've been feeling lately, almost like I'm going through another season of grieving. Thank you Linda, for sharing your creativity!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reading the story made me realize the same thing, Heidi. New grief stimulates older grief. I've noticed that with every new loss in my life, and we are all experiencing a lot of loss right now.

      Delete
  5. You're welcome, Heidi. The story was based in part on how I feel, although it wasn't intended to be autobiographical.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I loved this, Linda. All through it I wondered which talented blog mate had written this. I'm not surprised it was you.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Cherry pie is my favorite. It's wonderful how love can be expressed with food.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I agree about the food. Sometimes a tasty, homemade dish or treat says more than words alone.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'd be very happy if Esther moved in next door to me because if love cherry pie and hate to cook.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL. Cherry pie has been my favorite for decades.

      Delete

The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. If a glitch is preventing you from commenting, visit our Facebook page and drop your wise words there: Blood-Red Pencil on Facebook