Tuesday, October 21, 2014

On Apple Pie.

She’s my big sister so I always look up to her in big ways. The way she cooks, the way she bakes, the way she brings people together around a finely decorated, happily worn table… It always seems to feel just right.

I have watched my big sister constantly over my thirty-eight years. I watched as she chose horseback riding as her Thing, and I tagged along to be a part of her world. I watched as she married and began that strange and delicate relationship with her in-laws. She cleaned thoroughly, cooked well, and laughed politely at their stories. When she heard that her brother-in-law was particularly fond of apple pies, she set out to make the perfect one, months before he arrived at her Thanksgiving table.

She baked about a pie a week, and as I lived two floors above her in an apartment she owned (I think I was still tagging along in some way) and I was broke, I dutifully tasted these apple pies. As a lover of food and all things free, I was not a very picky or helpful judge. But we agreed on one and on Thanksgiving Day, that was the one she made for her brother-in-law.

He liked it, but in the litmus test of appreciation, he didn’t score as well as I thought he should. I don't know what she thought; we do a lot together but talking isn't one of them. But it was unfair—he didn’t know how many hours, how many pies, had gone into this single pie on this single day. But he ate it, and we ate it, and the experience had no big hurrah of an ending.

Fifteen years later, with families entrenched in Their Own Thing and too many miles between them, he doesn’t go to dinner much at her house anymore. After fifteen years of marriage, she doesn’t feel the need to show off as much as she did the first few years. But she and I still enjoy that fantastic pie. And we laugh at how silly and important it is to clean your house and be your best self with some people, and how wonderful and important it is to show your clutter and be your real self with others.


  1. Love that ending - such a great lesson to know and hold on to.

  2. Your last sentence is just full of wisdom... love it!