‘Tween a Crock an’ a Hard Space”

Ain’t nothin’ like Mama’s Apple Pie.

Ain’t NOTHIN’ like Mama’s Apple Pie.

An’ ain’t never a time she don’t make more’n one.  Law, us Goodwells, all us kids and aints and uncles and neighbors what jest happen along or outlaws in need o’ a hand o’ kindness or Grandpap or hey, even the huntin’ dogs and barn cats, we all us come a’runnin’ once we get us a whiff o’ that golden crisp brown sugar aroma what whafts and dances an’ sneaks  up ‘pon us delicate-like.  

Then Wham oh BAM, it slugs us upside the head till we cain’t see straight!  Our tongues get thick, our eyes fair to water with tears o’ joy, and our insides rumble like the ol’ potato truck over to the German POW camp we ain’t s’posed to know nothin’ ’bout, out to the used up quarry!

So Mama, she makes a slew.

Now these here pies, they ain’t perfec’ to look upon.  But I reckon purty’s in the eyes o’ the beholdin’.  An’ one you tried yerself a slice, you ain’t never ever goin’ back to them dry faded ol’ triangles under that glass down to the soda fountain in the drug store down to town.

If you ain’t been privy to the makin’, it’s well worth a watch.  But this tellin’, this here’s ’bout the anticipatin’.

Pinched round the edges quick as a lick, Mama’s fingers sound like a snip then a snap, hunerd or fifty times ‘roun’ the outside.  Like a ‘ssembly line, she snip snaps three, four, five pies.  Unless she’s borried  more pie pans from the church ladies.  We only got us five.

But I digress.

Then with the utmost care, she picks up her apron, decorated with faded-y apples and pears, and removes the black cast iron pot from the top o’ the stove, where it’s been bubblin’ slow and smellin’ like Heaven it’s ownself, some concoction o’ churned butter’n browned sugar an’ white, too, if we got it.

Well, with a feathered brush, with an artist’s clear eye, she’ll dab and dot and slide that sucker ‘roun in the butter/sugar then if she don’t paint ever crevice and bump on the top o’ that quarter inch crust atop that pie.  With a flourish, she’ll step back, admire her work, then lay on one last layer.

She’ll do that till the butter/sugar’s plumb gone.  We Goodwells, we don’t waste us an’thing.

Then this here?  This here’s where the anticipation starts.  She’ll, one by one, carry them glass rounds, mounded to overflowin’ with perforated white dough, now sogged with sweet buttery heaven and smellin’ o’ the heaps o’ sugared apple slices tucked underneath,  an’ slide ’em ever so careful into the oven.  Now, if you stoop real low, you can see the red hot coals to the bottom an’ the back an’ feel the whoosh o’ heat fair to melt yer face.

‘Ain’t no matter, I do my fair share o’ peekin’ in, once them pies all find their spots, like a puzzle, somehow.  Reckon I couldn’t get them suckers to fit, but then, my job ain’t the fixin’, it’d be the eatin’!

Now, here’s where I slide philosophical.  I reckon this ol’ world offers ever’thing Even Steven.  Ever’body, through hard work or bein’ in the right place at the right time, they got themselves ever’ opportunity ever’body else has.  Ain’t nothin to do with how many years they got under they belt, nor how few.  Ain’t got nothin’ to do with whether they was born big nor tall nor short nor fat nor girl baby nor boy baby nor under a rock nor if they be yeller nor green or soft or sassy.

Law, you should see Mama shoe a horse or’ toss hay on a near full wagon.  An’ you should hear my Daddy sing like a angel come Communion Service down to the church.  He hits notes I ain’t never touched!

My point is, how-some-ever, is that we ain’t all got to do it all.  Mama?  She ain’t inclined so much to muck no stalls, but I’ll bet she’d do it in record time an’ cleaner’n all the rest o’ us.  Daddy?  He wudn’t inclined to go past high school, the ranchin’ and farmin’ called his name, but ask him near an’thin’ ’bout an’thin’ an’ you’ll learn a load, I tell you what!

An’ me?  Liam Goodwell, third son o’ the Denton County Goodwells?  I ain’t so inclined to be bakin’ me no pies, though I ‘llow I’d do ’em up fine.  ‘Cept that snip snappin’, maybe.

But while I ain’t inclined to be there at the makin’, I ain’t never passed up a chance to do the imbibin’.

No.  Not never ever.

Now, if you all’ll ‘scuse me, I’ll be meanderin’ up to the house di-rectly.  There’s good times at the Goodwells this day!