Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Monday, February 9, 2015


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter… ©

I am eating the last piece of mincemeat pie this morning, for breakfast. Helen makes mincemeat pies for Christmas, some as gifts for people who love mincemeat, and some for our family, primarily meaning me. She then freezes enough mincemeat to make me a pie for my birthday.

I start each morning, either when I am still lying in bed or when I am on the sofa, in front of the fire, waiting for the coffee and the sunrise, one of which comes much earlier than the other, by counting my blessings. Pie figures prominently in that count.

Daughter Katie brought two kinds of pie for my family birthday party. We usually have ice cream pie when we celebrate a grandchild birthday. Pickle ball buddy Lee made two kinds of pie for my pickle ball birthday party. He is a medical marijuana dealer and usually puts cannabis into the many things he is famous for baking. He says there was none in the pickle ball birthday pies, but I felt awfully good after that party.

Don’t worry overmuch for me, that the mincemeat pie is “all,” as they say where we used to live in Amish country. I have other resources. Some of the cookies Helen made for Christmas are still in the freezer, and some of the brownies she made for my pickle ball party, and some of the cupcakes Vicky made, are still with us, as is Scottish shortbread that came to our house as a gift.

Still, though, I worry about the end of the mincemeat pie. I would hate to give it up. Obviously, for me, there is more than just beef and fruit below and above the crust. There are memories in that pie, smiles and hugs and laughter.

Mincemeat, though, takes a lot of hard work by hand. Helen’s hands are aging, not as strong or persistent as they once were. Some folks make pie very late in life. Ida Belle Paterson’s mother, who made pies for 13 children, still made pies at age 100. She would roll out dough, then sit down to rest, peel some apples, then sit down to rest, and on through the whole process. It took quite a while to make a pie, but it was what she did. Not everyone can do that, though.

I suppose I could learn to make mincemeat myself, and bake it into a pie. Roy Meyerholtz has always made the excellent pies I have enjoyed at his and Pat’s house. And Eunice Synder taught Art how to bake.

Eunice was famed as a cook, especially as a baker. When she was dying, she would sit in her wheelchair in the kitchen to teach Art. We have eaten his Moravian sugar cake for breakfast, so we know that she taught him well.

When their son, John, committed suicide, Eunice made me a gooseberry pie, one of the favorites of my childhood, when I used to pick the gooseberries myself, as her way of grieving well, by doing something special for someone else, something that would bring up good memories for me at the same time she struggled with her own.

I am here on the sofa. The last bite of pie and the last sip of coffee are before me. Sufficient for the day is the pie thereof. If there is mincemeat future, I shall count it as a blessing. If there is only mincemeat past, I still have blessings to count, including mincemeat memories.

John Robert McFarland

The “place of winter” mentioned in the title line is Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula [The UP], where life is defined by winter even in the summer! [This phrase is explained in the post for March 20, 2014.]

I used to keep a careful index of all the things I told in this blog so that I would not repeat. That has become unwieldy. Now I just trust to… what’s it called… oh, yes, memory. Sorry about repeats.

I have also started an author blog, JUST WORDS, about writing and reading. Writing guru Kristen Lamb says author blogs are counter-productive, that blogs must be “high concept.” I don’t know what that means, but consider Just Words as a high concept blog in preparation for the publication, by Black Opal Books, of my novel, VETS, about four handicapped and homeless Iraqistan veterans who are accused of murdering a VA doctor, in 2015.

I tweet as yooper1721.

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