In Pie We Trust

Tess added a pinch of lavender into the bowl as she stirred. A quick glance at the old train station clock over the front door told her that Johnna would be in any minute to open the shop. Tess felt a sense of urgency to get the pies into the oven before Johnna arrived so she wouldn’t have to listen to another lecture about her less than stellar time-management skills.

Right on time (ten minutes early) Tess heard the back door open and close.

“What’s up, buttercup?” Johnna chirped as she sidled up next to her younger sister and sniffed the days’ special flavor being mixed, a large bouquet of fresh flowers in one hand.

“Mmmmm….is that lavender I smell? What are we calling this one?” Johnna asked.

“I’m still thinking,” said Tess.

“Well, I can’t wait to taste it,” replied Johnna. “I suggest you hurry and get those in the oven so they’ll be ready.”

Tess stuck her tongue out at her sister’s back as Johnna made her way toward the sink where yesterday’s Ball jar vases sat clean on the drain board, ready for today’s flowers.

After the fresh flowers were placed in the center of each table (that their brother, Mitchell, had made from reclaimed barn wood) Johnna grabbed her apron off the hook by the cash register and finished readying In Pies We Trust for opening.

The sisters had been very lucky to find and lease the space on Main Street that had once been a Red Goose shoe store. In the 1980’s it had been converted into a women’s boutique for a short time, and most recently an artist, who was a relative of the owner, had used it as a painting studio. The original black and white hexagonal tiles still graced the front entryway, and in their remodel, the sisters exposed an original red brick wall on the east side that runs the length of the shop. Lots of natural light spilled in through the large front windows, casting bright shafts of sunshine all the way into the kitchen.

Tess had just taken the last pie from the oven when the bell over the front door chimed with the arrival of their first customer of the day. Continue reading

Lyle Lovett, How Do I love Thee…

 Lyle, Me

“I’m Lyle Lovett’s biggest fan!” I heard her say to the person she was with.

My ears perked up. My sisters, Mary and Teresa had heard it too and they both looked at me, eyebrows raised, as if to say, “Are you going to let this woman get away with that remark?”

Everyone who has ever met me knows that I am Lyle Lovett’s biggest fan.

It was October, 2007 just outside of College Station, Texas. My three sisters and I were enjoying a raucous sister’s weekend at Big State, a huge outdoor music festival featuring Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, Robert Earl Keen, Miranda Lambert, Los Lonely Boys, Dierks Bentley, Kelly Willis, Kevin Fowler, Tim McGraw, and so many others. The sun was setting and we were positioned right up front to enjoy Lyle Lovett’s much-anticipated set.

The Large Band had barely finished the first song when this misguided woman nearby had started with her remarks. She was all like, “Oh, I love him so much. I’ve seen him seven times. I know all the words to all of his songs.”….blah blah blah.

Naturally, it was my duty to set her straight. “Excuse me, but I’m Lyle Lovett’s biggest fan,” I said with a smile. “Oh yeah?” She replied. “What makes you think so?”

My response: “I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen him, but this is the third time this week!”

I won that argument real quick. She was quiet after that.

But I also wanted to tell her: Continue reading

That Time Charles Bronson Offered To Rub Suntan Lotion On My Back

village inn

When I was in high school I worked as a waitress for ninety cents an hour plus tips. On top of going to school, I worked seven days a week at the Village Inn Pancake House. Monday through Friday it was just me and the cook from 3p – 10p. On the weekends, I worked the breakfast shift with several other waitresses (one being my older sister), serving eggs over easy and buttermilk pancakes to GI’s from the nearby Air Force Base. On a good Saturday I’d bring home $60 in tips. For a sixteen year old in 1976, that wasn’t too shabby.

On the occasional Sunday I’d work a double shift. After working from 6a – 2p, I’d pick up the 2p – 6p shift and literally work all day. One such Sunday, driving home from a double shift sent me through the windshield of a Volkswagon, but that’s a story for another day.

In the summertime, there was no school, and I didn’t have to be at work until 3p during the week so I could sleep in and still have a few hours of down time. I had recently gotten my driver’s license and had my own car – an orange 1973 Chevy Vega – and had been promising my younger sister that I’d take her and some friends to the lake. They wanted to swim and I wanted to lay out and get some sun, so we packed up the Vega and headed out one morning.

There was only one other car parked in the beach area when we arrived at around nine. There hadn’t been anyone at the guard gate to take our three dollars and I found that odd. The other car was a dark green Chevy Corvette. I’m pretty sure it was a ’72 because I noticed the two rectangular exhaust pipes and split bumper. Daddy taught me a few things about cars, including how to tell what make and model I’m looking at, fueling a lifelong admiration for design and details.

I zipped the Vega into a spot a decent distance from the Vette because there was a big burly dude standing next to the car with his arms crossed. I glanced around and saw one head bobbing in the water a short distance from the beach. I figured they were together and didn’t think too much about it. Continue reading

Let’s go to Wig’s Wag-a-Bag for an ICEE!

My three sisters and I often spent summers in Oklahoma with aunts, uncles and lots of cousins. The excitement of summertime filled us with so much light and joy we thought we might burst.

The days were barefoot lazy, and except for meals, blissfully structure-less.

We’d get up early and put on yesterday’s bathing suits – sometimes still damp from being washed out in the sink the night before. Hours were spent running through the water sprinkler, laughter filling the air. Later we’d ride bikes, play games, lay under a shade tree making whistles out of blades of grass.

Once a week Aunt Cookie would load us all into the car and we’d go to the laundry mat down the street. In our bathing suits, we found ways to occupy ourselves while the clothes tumbled in the machines.

After the clothes were dry and folded, we’d go across the street to Wig’s Wag-a-Bag for tiny brown bags of penny candy and an ICEE!

Barefoot, bathing suits, crazy hair and an ICEE. Those were the days.