Letter to the Editor: The best pies are church pies 



To the Editor: 

Who can resist a church pie sale? 

There are moments in life that leave you flabbergasted at your ridiculous good fortune. Finding a twenty in an old pair of pants. Reading Where the Wild Things Are to your kid for the first, or hundredth, time. The sound of hard rain on an awning as you sit underneath it. 

Goodies, for sure. But they pale to this one: driving down a smalltown Main Street and seeing a pie sale sign in front of a church. I think I almost got rear-ended as I stomped on the brakes and careened across the road into the parking lot. 

The pies went on sale at noon, “until gone.” It was 1:30 already, but the ladies were still there, sitting at a folding table, admiring my skid marks. They had probably seen worse drivers that day. After all, it is a fact universally acknowledged that the best pies are church pies. Any of these pies would be disqualified from The Great British Bake-Off out of a sense of fairness to other contestants. 

The strawberry-rhubarb crumbles were gone, which was crushing. But there were blueberry pies to be had. And I was in Maine. 

You can’t get Maine blueberries outside of Maine. They don’t make it that far before they are consumed. Some might come close to the New Hampshire border, but even people who intend to leave the state with them cannot hold out that long. They are tiny and bursting with flavor, what all blueberries aspire to be, just like strawberries want to be wild strawberries in Sweden. They not only do not escape Sweden, they don’t escape the hand that picked them. They’re okay for film titles, but not for sharing. 

I was concerned about the pie because it was early in the season, and Maine blueberries had not yet become available. Would I be stuck with ones from out-of-state? Even New Jersey blueberries? I was embarrassed to ask, so I didn’t. 

Upon arriving back at the vacation cabin, I immediately cut myself a slice. Beautiful little blueberries revealed themselves, perhaps frozen from last year’s crop or picked from some secret patch Mainers are not allowed to discuss with visitors. Either way, it was a superb church lady pie. Of course, there is no other kind. 

If you are near Acadia National Park this summer, I highly advise you stop by the United Church of Christ in Somesville on Wednesdays at noon. 

Better yet, get there at 6 a.m. You don’t want to take any chances. 

 

Jim Nolan 

Tremont and New York 

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