October 27, 2006

Crescent Moon

Last weekend when Red-haired Sister was in town, she and my parents took the younger kids apple-picking. It was a cold, rainy weekend but they waited for a break in the weather and wore winter coats. With-a-Why came home with red cheeks and a big bag of apples.

All week I've been saying, "Oh, I ought to make a pie." Shaggy Hair Boy loves homemade apple pie, his favorite dessert. But this is a busy time of the semester, and my days are filled with classes, meetings, paper grading, and planning for upcoming conferences. My husband and I have had to devote all kinds of time and emotional energy to my mother-in-law, who has macular degeneration and has been very anxious over a new medicine that gets injected directly into her eye. It's been a stressful week, with no time for anything as leisurely as making a pie.

Yesterday afternoon, my mother called to say, "I made you an apple pie. I just put it in the oven, so stop by sometime this evening and pick it up."

My mother makes the best apple pie. Really. I am not the only person who thinks so.

So yesterday, on my way to meet Quilt Artist, Long Beautiful Hair, and Makes Bread, three friends I was meeting for an hour or two of chatting and commiserating, I stopped at my parents' house, and my mother handed me an apple pie, still warm from the oven. After half an hour of chatting with my parents, I put the pie carefully on the floor of my car and drove off in a vehicle that now smelled delicious.

When I came home after visiting my friends, I carried the pie into the quiet house. My husband was upstairs putting With-a-Why to bed. They read comic books together, and usually in the evening I can hear the voice of Thor coming from the bedroom, but the quietness made me think that my tired spouse had fallen asleep while cuddling his youngest. Shaggy Hair was still awake and eagerly anticipating the pie. He'd built a fire in the fireplace, and the red coals glowed invitingly as I came in from the windy darkness. Right away, I put the kettle on the stove so we could make hot tea and cocoa.

My feet and hands were cold: I haven't yet gotten around to digging out the wool socks, hiking boots, and mittens that I will be wearing from now until spring. I sat down in the comfy chair and drew close to the simmering red logs. I could see flames reflected in the dark window panes behind Shaggy Hair, who was stretched out on the couch with his homework. In silence, we each ate a piece of pie, savoring the cinnamon apple taste, the tender crust.

"Listen," said Shaggy Hair, opening the window just a crack.

From the south, towards the railroad track that acts as a corridor for wildlife, came that haunting sound, the howl of a coyote on a dark fall night.

18 comments:

Erin said...

Exquisite!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. Thank you, jo(e).

Sara said...

My heart goes out to your mother-in-law, with the medication that gets injected directly into her eye. That would make me anxious, too. In fact, it's making me anxious just thinking about it. OK, deep breath.

How sweet of your Mom to make the pie. And hearing coyotes from the house is always a joy.

jo(e) said...

Sara: Well, the worst part of this new treatment is that we don't know whether or not it will work. My mother-in-law is going blind very rapidly now; if I walk up to her, she can't tell it's me until she hears my voice.

She has an untreated anxiety disorder so she is an anxious person anyhow, but I think the thought of going blind would lead to anxiety and depression in even the most optimistic person.

And yeah, having someone stick a needle into your eye is kind of creepy.

halloweenlover said...

Yum, what a great memory.

I'm so sad for your mother in law also. That is such a difficult situation. I hope something can be done for her.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Apple pie and coyotes, what could be better than that!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Ai-yi-yi- That medicated being injected into the eye sounds awful! AK!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

My Mom has macular degenration, too, but hers is not that bad yet, thank goodness. So sorry! :-(

I'm anxious just thinking about it!

Anonymous said...

Why is it that a coyote howling in your story sounds exotic and cool, but the dog downstairs who howled all morning after his caretaker left for work was annoying?

Chip said...

mmmmm apple pie. I should make one this weekend.

It's funny, I never thought of the tracks as a corridor for wildlife, but I guess there's a lot less traffic now than 30 years ago.

Patti said...

My haunting sounds: wind off a really big lake (can shake the house), train whistle (every night around 9:15), geese headed south.

Kristen said...

What a great fall memory.

I hope your mother-in-law's situation starts to improve. That sounds very difficult.

ppolarbear said...

This is beautiful, but now I'm hungry for pie.

Kyla said...

Oh! To have fall AND pie! How lucky you are!!

Yankee, Transferred said...

So lovely.

Yankee, Transferred said...

So lovely.

cloudscome said...

What a beautiful story. I haven't read blogs all week and today I am catching up on all your lovely posts. I treasure your writing.

What a contrast: mother-in-law needing you and your husband, mother baking you a pie and putting it warm into your cold hands. Sons at home: one being cuddled and read to and one building you a fire. Families cover all the bases, don't they?

Marie said...

I love your family.