Gladys is my maternal grandmother, and I absolutely never called her Gladys (or "Saint of Pies" for that matter), just Grandma. She was a great pie craftsman and I've been wanting to write about her all year, but I keep tearing up every time I do so. Pie week, spring break back in March, included the anniversary of her death, and the anniversary of our last conversation, about pie. I'm sure that there were medical issues going on, but from what most of us could tell, Grandma stopped caring about living when her son died in October of 2000, and by spring break 2001, she didn't have much of anything left. I was fortunate to be able to see her at a home and made some awkward conversation. The least awkward, most animated, conversation was about pie.
I asked about favorite pies and while she was thinking about it, my Mom answered for her, "chocolate cream, right?" Suddenly feisty, Grandma snapped, "No, that was [your father's? your brother's? your?] favorite. It is good but it is not my favorite." Then she launched into a long discussion about how you couldn't get good mincemeat anymore. She enjoyed mincemeat pies with store bought mincemeat, but that wasn't anything like what they made on the farm to preserve the rest of the hog's head.
Peach was pretty good, too.
|Last year's mincemeat, from a jar, in foreground.|
I stopped by a grocery store to make her a pie. They didn't have any mincemeat. They didn't have any frozen peaches. There was no fruit in season. I made a horrible peach pie using sticky peach pie filling and took it to her in the hospital the next day. I don't know through what love or will she downed that piece of peach pie, but I don't think it was just because Grandpa was force feeding her and I'm pretty sure it wasn't because she wanted more of it. I'm still mortified that that pie was her last meal, and strangely honored by it.
Grandma's birthday was last week, and I was thinking about her as I was baking chocolate tarts. I look like her and my cousins look like her and I'm not sure she's ever very far away. She's been with me today as I look for suet to make "real" mincemeat and will be there on Thanksgiving when I unleash the mincemeat on my in-laws.
Thanks for being around Saint Gladys.