November 13, 2023 at 6:20 a.m.


By Larry Perkinson

The season of perpetual pie is upon us. In the past weeks a crust brown splattered the trees. The stain of red and yellow apples and cherries covered the leaves, and sunrises glimmered off the cinnamon coating on hills and valleys in Indiana. Autumn’s scenic splendor definitely makes my mouth water for the celebrations ahead.

Thanksgiving and Christmas herald in such wonderful desserts, don’t they? Sure, someone out there is baking cakes and snickerdoodles. Persimmon pudding, one part pudding and two parts whipped cream, is a wonderful concoction. But I’m a pie-kind-of-guy.

Pecan, no matter how you look say it, makes me smile. Apple, cherry, chess, custard, coconut cream, berry, pumpkin, lemon meringue? Does it really matter? Arguing the type of filling would be like debating the design of the crust. Tasty is tasty.

For me, the only thing as good as fresh pie is leftover pie. Next-day delights are rewarding in so many ways. When the dishes are cleaned and the oven has cooled, it’s a joy to use my sugar radar to track down a pie tin.

Truth be known, I like most leftovers from the kitchen, but I deal with them in life even more often. My head must have drawers and cupboards galore. At my age the most important things are kept in a cerebral Hoosier cabinet or a vintage hippocampus pie safe. Memories, calendar assignments, and even guilt are shelved there.

Most days Julie will ask what I have on the agenda. Then in response she’ll say, “Didn’t you do that yesterday?” Leftovers stick around until I’m finished with them. I think we all have unfinished business.

Good intentions leave some things undone. I was going to call Steve but hadn’t gotten around to it. A birthday comes and goes, but the thank-you cards are still on the shelf. Distractions occur. Life happens. Those leftovers can pile up if we aren’t careful.

The first year I taught a young lady in the class was facing leukemia. It was winning the battle, but the disease couldn’t defeat her spirit or smile. The note she sent from the hospital was endearing. She loved everybody and wanted it known. Instead of having lunch, I sat down and wrote a letter to share that she too was missed and loved.

Within a week word came that Rose had died. I skipped lunch again and sat in my room. Looking for something unimportant, I opened a desk drawer. The letter to Rose was right there. It was sealed and stamped but had not been mailed. It was a leftover that still leaves a bad taste.

I served up a lot of rambling promises to God that day that I have tried to follow through on. If I think of a friend three times, I contact them. Challenge dignity not character when something needs said. Address the need at hand. Taking care of children is more important than all the assignments in the world. If a letter needs written, mail it. Sometimes I recall more.

When the day is done, I prefer pie to crow. If I have leftover tasks or obligations, I pray for the strength and perseverance to deal with them in the tomorrows ahead. If I have leftover pie, I just dig in.