Grandma always made a big deal over her pies, never allowing anyone near while she “made magic”. And she always hid them in what she liked to call her secret pie fridge. It was guarded by hell hounds and NASA satellites. She was a kooky old lady with the faint smell of 151 Rum on her breath. The pies were so damn good, we didn’t care.
Entrees and side dishes at mealtime were merely a means to an end. Everyone ate without tasting, anticipating dessert. Grandma, a true showman, would retreat to her secret pie fridge and bring forth each pie like the Christ-child presented to the wise men.
We would fall to our knees genuflecting. Pie had been served.
It had been ten years since I’d fed my pie addiction and grandma quietly passed, and it was her death that had me standing in front of the secret pie fridge, contemplating opening it and fully expecting my grandmother’s ghostly form to bludgeon me to death for even thinking such a stupid thing. My mother, standing a good twenty feet away from me, half hidden behind a door, offered words of encouragement. Easy to tell I was not her favorite child. Expendable Me.
Hesitantly, I put shaking hands on the two well-worn knobs. My knees were weak and a sweat had broken out across my brow. Grandma was definitely going to come back to haunt me for this. All my life, certain truths had been drilled into me: don’t cut bread with a knife, use a tissue to pick your nose discretely, marry a doctor…and most importantly, never open the secret pie fridge.
Maybe it was my destiny. Maybe I was the only one who could accomplish such a feat. More likely was that I was late to the family meeting and was ‘volunteered’. Either way, I was charged with opening this bitch up.
Out of the pie fridge fell a slip of paper. It was followed by many more slips of paper silently gliding to the floor. I carefully knelt to look at the paper and nearly doubled over laughing. It was a receipt, a damn receipt from the old bakery down the street. And for what else? Pies! Her pies were made by Gus the Baker! Grandma had perpetrated a scam on her entire family. I caught a wiff of 151 and smiled. Grandma had the last laugh.