My wife, Tee, is a master pie maker. Among our family and close friends her pies are considered delicacies; and more than that they are works of art. Her secret, you see, is not in the recipes, for she’s most happy to share them with anyone who asks. The secret, rather, is in her magic touch. As you know the foundation of any good pie is the crust and making a good pie crust requires much more skill than simply blending together the correct portions of ingredients and rolling it out. It requires having a sense of when the dough feels right, has enough or too little moisture, its elasticity, how it looks. The outcome of the dough is connected to other factors such as the amount of humidity in the air and the temperature of the room when it is being prepared. Tee is sensitive to all those things making subtle adjustments that cannot be explained. Yet her pie crusts are always perfect – works of art.
It was in her mother’s kitchen that Tee developed this extraordinary gift, although I don’t think her mother ever gave her an official lesson in pie making. Rather they used to just hang out together in the kitchen as mother and daughter, visiting, spending time together – connecting with each other. It was there I’m quite sure that Tee probably picked up on certain subtleties about mother that can never be explained in words. Those subtleties are what made Tee’s mother’s pies unique, they are what made her mother unique, they are what make Tee and her pies unique. And it was that precious time in the kitchen that keeps Tee forever connected with her mother.
We forget sometimes how closely we are connected to others and how important it is to be connected. It is more than just our blood relatives to which we are connected, but also to one another. We are connected to the past, to those who lived before us by what they left behind, by the lessons they taught, the good they did, and even the mistakes they made. We are connected by their stories and their character. We are connected in the present by our common lives, our communities, neighborhoods, and workplaces. And we are connected to the future by those things we create, how we live, and the impact and influence we have on others.
That is why being served a slice of Tee’s pie is such a special privilege. Besides being delicious, it connects us to her and who she is. Her magic touch in the making of the pie crust reveals part of her character, as well as connecting us to her mother and her character. And someday it may connect our grandchildren to their grandmother in a unique way. More importantly neither Tee nor her mother ever baked a pie for their own consumption. It has always been for someone else, as a means for staying connected. And ultimately that’s the real secret, the magic touch that makes them perfect – that makes them works of art.