Doing Pie By Traci Matt



For most normal Americans, “pie” is a noun. At my house it takes on meaning as another part of speech each month as I prepare to drive away for a few regenerative hours with my Pie Ladies.

“I’m doing pie tonight,” is the response to what’s for dinner. My husband and children learned early that any investment on their part to make Pie Night happen is repaid tenfold with Mommy’s improved demeanor.

And in response to the question we are asked frequently, no, the Pie Ladies don’t make pie.

We eat it.

For nearly 25 years we have indulged our sweet teeth and chat, chat, chatted about work, church, children, parents, sex, health, finances—there is just not a subject that hasn’t come up. Of course all that personal talk necessitates the request of a booth (we tell ourselves no one can hear us), at which point we inform the server that we are only here for dessert, promise to leave a good tip, and apologize in advance for the coming guffaws.

Once we were actually sought out in a restaurant by a mutual friend who said she could hear us laughing from the other side of the room.

Sometimes the laughter is at the expense of our poor server. One little girl was lucky we didn’t spew all our drinks on her when asked if the coffee was fresh and she answered, “Yes, I just poured it.”

Ironically, the Pie Ladies started out as a church diet group. It then morphed into a ladies’ Bible study, but when we realized the best part of the evening was after the study was done and we could really talk about life, we left the study part behind.

The Pie Ladies never offer each other a casual “How are you?” Each such inquiry is made only with full eye contact and furrowed brow. If the satisfactory response, “good,” is not made with equally intense eye contact, we exert great effort to figure out just what’s up. Answering with a “fine” is just never a smart choice.

At times we have each sat down with eyes filled to the brim and we knew the Lord had planned the perfect night for us to do what we’re best at—just listen and love.

Once in a while one of us just drops a bomb and when that happens the pain literally ricochets around the table.

We don’t defy many statistics. We have consoled each other through death, betrayal, unemployment, and serious mental and physical health issues.  Our children have suffered from poor grades, poor peer choices, poor fashion sense, and poor attitudes.

I remember one high-five at the table when we were all anti-depressant-free at the same time.

The thing we seem to have defied well is the force which gradually pulls the best-intentioned friends from one another as they take separate paths in life. I think we’re just stubborn.

Strange as it may seem, we have a pact that none of our children will ever date each other. Although it would be bliss to actually be related to one another somehow, we know much too much about how truly screwed up our respective families are.

When the first of the Pie Children was married, my oldest stood up as a groomsman, and the rest of us held back the sobs as we watched our chum walk down the aisle and do something none of us has done before–take her seat as the mother of the groom.

The previous time we were all in a church together another of our friends was walking a road none of us had before. She was the first widow.

When the first Pie Grandchild was born we are as giddy as adopted aunties. In our case, it seems cheesecake can be thicker than blood.

My only regret in enjoying this sisterhood is that not everyone can rest in the same iron band of support. I guess sometimes I feel a little guilty for having such a priceless gift.

But with a dollop of whipped cream and a side of raspberry sauce, I’ll get over it.

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