It all began in Corvallis with our cherry tree. It’s the one that drips it’s cherry-laden limbs onto the sidewalk and begs passers-by to guiltily grab a few before they hurry on, hoping no one is looking.
Their inconspicuousness is touching given the evidence left behind. Cherry pits. Not that I would care if they show up with their ladders and pick a bucket or ten. Our tree is laden.
My first task as a college graduate is to pick cherries. On a Sunday in a dress, with a very short ladder. All the best cherries are of course higher than I can reach. Unless I stand on the very top rung on tiptoes, carefully balancing myself so I can squirm higher to reach and not come toppling off the ladder. Doing so would successfully entertain the neighbors. Despite this, I for once maintain some dignity and forego the tree toppling episode.
At home in Hermiston, my father is also picking cherries. His are being picked out of his fervent desire for a cherry pie. The birds have other plans however, and unless the tree is picked now, there will be none left to satisfy a certain sweet tooth. So they are picked slightly green because it is either him or the birds, and no one comes between Walter and pie.
A week and a half later, the pie has still not been made. The Corvallis cherries are nearly eaten, and dad is starting to hint more frequently. I leave him a note on Father’s Day that he will indeed be receiving a pie shortly.
The notion of pitting all these lovely beasts takes a bit of working up to. The cherry pitter you see, has been well used over the years and is on the verge of rusting over. What with this and the fact that most of the remaining cherries are the not-quite-ripe-but-saved-from-the-birds variety, well you see my lack of enthusiasm.
Finally the day arrives when the crust has been mixed and chilled and there is nothing left to do but pit the cherries. So I press on, and really it’s not so bad. As the pie crisps in the oven and lovely smells start to fill the farmhouse, dad walks in the door after a long day of work. He knows exactly what this particular smell is.
It’s his cherry pie at last.
For those that have had trouble with crusts, I will let you in on a little secret: Martha Stewart. I make sure the ingredients are quite cold, use a mixer or food processor, and real butter. I have never had a bad crust. I swear :)