Wednesday, December 2, 2015

That Last Piece of Pie

Last night as spin class, our instructor told us to increase our pace.  She said, "Aren't you sorry you had that last piece of pie?"

If we had been having a normal conversation, I'd have said, "No, I'm not.  The last piece of pie I ate was from an amazing sweet potato pie at church on Sunday.  It reminded me of my grandmother's sweet potato pie, and I wrote a poem I wouldn't have had otherwise on Tuesday morning because of that last piece of pie."

Maybe I'd have talked about the one and only time my grandmother made sweet potato pie.  When my grandmother was newly widowed, I was going to undergraduate school in Newberry, SC, 45 minutes away.  I tried to go see her once a month.  She'd make a wonderful meal, and send me home with cookies.  When one of my friends met my grandmother for the first time at my wedding, he said, "I've eaten a lot of your cookies."

I ate my grandmother's sweet potato pie and couldn't disguise my surprise, and yes, disappointment.  "I thought it was pumpkin!"

If you've only ever had store-bought sweet potato pie, you may be wondering how I could tell the difference.  My grandmother made her sweet potato pie from actual sweet potatoes that she mashed herself.  Her pumpkin pies were smooth and glossy.  The sweet potato pie had more fiber, less sweetness, a dark side of sorts.

I've always regretted my response.  My grandmother was the type of woman who remembered every disappointment, and years later, she would remind me of the time I turned up my nose at her sweet potato pie.  No amount of explaining could ease that memory.

I would pay serious money to go back in time to when she was a vigorous woman.  I would love to sit with her and chat and eat endless slices of her pies. 

I said none of that last night.  Since it was spin class, I said, "I didn't have that last piece of pie.  But I did have carrot cake every morning for breakfast over Thanksgiving break."

My spin class instructor and buddies reacted in mock (or real?) horror.  I said, "Hey, it was that or bacon.  And carrot cake has vegetables in it!"

Everyone laughed.  But I actually did eat a piece of carrot cake every day of Thanksgiving week-end, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  It went so well with the black coffee.  So no sugar or milk in my coffee, but carrot cake for breakfast--it seemed a fair trade.

What I like about Thanksgiving is that I go away.  I indulge in bad habits away from my normal life.  There's a clear break between holiday indulgence and regular life.  In December, I don't have that experience.  If I'm not careful, I'll be eating Christmas cookies for breakfast well into January.

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