The Skipper and I were both blessed with wonderful fathers. Loving, generous, kind, spiritual caregivers of their families and communities, we have benefited beyond words from them as role models. They both died too young: Skipper’s at 61, mine at 57.
Their legacies are strong and mysterious. I never got the chance to meet Skipper’s dad, but even from photos I can see the resemblance. And it’s so clear to me that Skipper’s values–that generosity toward others is an abundance that will be returned in spades, that work is something to take pride in and not something to avoid, that working with your hands is a timeless pleasure connected to generations of craftsmen who came before, that living close to nature is good for the soul, and that life and love should be playful and fun!–come from his remarkable father.
My own dear dad has been gone just two years, and so I’m still learning how much he and I were connected. I get my deep sense of belonging to Britain from him and his family (and a similar sense of belonging to Scotland from my mother and her family). I can sit and dream and look very unproductive for many hours as I ponder the mysteries of the world, and I’m usually more preoccupied with the possibilities of life 5 or 10 years from now than with the tasks immediately in front of me. That’s definitely from him, as is my curiosity about people and how they live, and about the next house we might live in (no matter how happy we are in the one we’re in now). I hope that I have inherited his compassion. I know I may not have recognized the miracle man that is my husband without my father’s modeling of what a man can be, and that is a legacy I am thankful for every day.
But this is a blog about food, and both of our dad’s had that in common too–they loved to eat, and chose women who cooked to keep them well fed throughout their adult lives. And they both LOVED pie.
The pie gene must run through the male line in our families, because the women folk that I know in our two families like pie, but not with the unbridled perfectionist passion of the men. I thought this was a quirk of the Skipper–he loves pie so much that he has become a master pie-maker himself–until I spent some time with his brother. One of my favorite memories and stories is of when we were visiting brother and sister-in-law at their home in Moncton one morning. We were all chatting and sipping tea/coffee as brother puttered about the kitchen. Long into the conversation, I suddenly realized that I was watching a scene I thought only happened in my own kitchen: brother was in the confident, automatic process of rolling out pastry and mixing fillings as he assembled SIX pies on the kitchen counter! This is a pie-serious family.
Last night, after Skipper and I had spent the day going in very different directions, I was thinking about having not celebrated Father’s Day, and that we should have a toast to our fathers at some point. But we were in bed, munching on some slices of store-bought cherry pie (what? Doesn’t everyone end the day that way? :)) and catching up on our adventures, when I realized that we were already recognizing our Dads in the most appropriate way. With pie.
Our Dads never met in life, but if ever two men were going to meet and enjoy each others’ company in the beyond, it would be those two. I love the idea that they might have been sitting over a fruit pie, still warm from the oven, looking down on us with pride as we enjoyed the same pleasure. How lucky are we all in those moments shared around the food we love.
Here’s to Dads and pie!
Hope everyone had a wonderful father’s day.