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The Quest for Cherry Pie Filling

Updated: Sep 10



The other day my wife, Abbi, came home from work and immediately started cooking. In a matter of minutes, the crock pot was going and she was pounding out graham crackers into a crust.


"Who are you and what have you done with my wife?" I teased.


"What?" she shrugged.


"You've like never done this before," I replied.


"That's only a slight exaggeration," she quipped, "so I'll let it slide."


Abbi then explained that she was organizing a co-worker’s baby shower for the next day. So she was making not one but two crock pots full of meatballs, and not one but two torts. She got the tort recipe from my mom, who would make them for the holidays or other special occasions. The tort was usually topped with cherry or pineapple pie filling, and sometimes it was split, half and half. My wife was making one cherry and one pineapple torte . . . or so she thought.


After eating leftovers for dinner and just before we put the kids to bed, Abbi realized that the crushed pineapple she’d bought to top one of the torts was much too sour. She lamented that she’d have to go get up early the next morning to run to the store for another can of cherry pie filling.


I'd just gotten my car washed, and hitting a deer would have made that a complete waste of money, while hitting a skunk would have been beyond tragic.

So after I tucked my younger son in, I decided to run to our local grocery store to get the pie filling. I figured that my wife will be busy enough getting everything ready to take to work the next morning and wouldn’t need one more thing to worry about. I’d been up since five-something, but I work from home on Friday and the store was only about ten minutes away.


I slipped out of the house and strode through the wet grass. My car was parked on the curb rather than in my garage because I just had my driveway sealed. It was actually a blessing because I didn’t have to open the garage door which might have woken someone. I opened the sunroof, put on a song that reminded me of my mother, and drove with my high beams on. I'd just gotten my car washed, and hitting a deer would have made that a complete waste of money, while hitting a skunk would have been beyond tragic.


Now mind you, I’d already been grocery shopping once that day. I'd stopped by a different store after work and grabbed fortifications to last through early the following week, along with a couple of large fruit trays for the shower my wife was hosting.


“This better be one hell of a baby,” I thought to myself.


As I pulled into the nearly vacant parking lot, I realized that I should have checked the store’s hours. I got out of my car and noticed some guy wandering around between the empty parking spaces, using the light from his phone to look for something. I was thinking maybe he lost his keys or his ID, and for a moment I thought about offering to help him. But I left the comfort of my couch to fetch some cherry pie filling, not to earn my good citizenship badge.


I counted maybe a dozen fellow shoppers, and other than a mother-daughter pair, all of the rest seemed to be men . . . I wondered if they were here because their wives were hosting baby showers the next day too.

The sign on the sealed glass door verified that the store had closed twenty-seven minutes earlie. So I slid back into the car, opened the sunroof, and played another song that reminded me of my mom. I then drove twenty minutes in the opposite direction to a big box store that, according to the app I checked as I left the shuttered grocery, was open until midnight.


As I sojourned toward the baking aisle, I felt the soreness in my legs from that afternoon’s five-mile run. My time wasn’t great, but at least I'd gotten it done. I counted maybe a dozen fellow shoppers, and other than a mother-daughter pair, all of the rest seemed to be men. Some of them looked more lost than the guy who was stumbling around the parking lot. I wondered if they were here because their wives were hosting baby showers the next day too.


When I arrived at the pie filling shelf, just for giggles, I looked for a can of pineapple. But of course there was none. My mom always complained that, being my father’s favorite, it was always impossible to find. But I did spy several large cans of country cherry on the bottom shelf, so I reached down to grab one. Just as I did, I glanced up, and staring me right in the face was a small can of poppy seed pie filling.


“Poppy seed filling . . . in a can?” I grimaced.


I don’t dislike poppy seeds, but I never imagined such a thing existed. I was forced to look away and tried to shake the image from my head. I kept thinking about how such a concoction would look, and what it would taste like, and the texture. The whole situation gave me the willies.


As I waited in the check-out line, I started to feel sick to my stomach, so I grabbed three bags of peanut butter M&Ms for medicinal purposes (Hey, there was a promotion and I ran five miles that afternoon.) The cashier was exceedingly cheerful for working so late, and that lifted my mood.


I got back in the car, opened the sunroof, and played yet another song that reminded me of my mother. I drove over the darkened lake and, through my very clean windows, caught the glow of moonlight shimmering off of the glassy water. It was really pretty and I felt fortunate to live so close.


I made a promise to myself to write a weekly blog for a year . . . I want my writing to touch people and make them think. But I never thought I’d be writing about making a late-night run for cherry pie filling.

I parked my car on the curb and slipped back into the house, placing the can of pie filling on the counter where my wife would see it in the morning. I reconsidered the folly of opening a bag of peanut butter M&Ms at quarter to midnight. Instead I poured myself a small, pre-mixed margarita and retire to my front porch. There, staring at my still very clean car and sipping my margarita, I composed this entry. I made a promise to myself to write a weekly blog for a year, with the goals of showcasing my writing skills and connecting with readers. I want my writing to touch people and make them think. But I never thought I’d be writing about making a late-night run for cherry pie filling.


The following morning, my wife greeted me with a kiss on the cheek.


“You’re the best husband,” she whispered.


"That’s only a slight exaggeration," I replied. "So I'll let it slide."


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