I Want Pie

I beseech thee

Is it really so much to ask?

Evidently yes. Good pie, we now understand, is hard to come by.

At the conclusion of Arthur C. Clarke’s famous short science fiction story “The Nine Billlion Names of God”, the stars “without any fuss” go out one by one in the sky overhead. So it was, back in the Old Country of Illinois, except it was not stars that winked out, but Baker’s Square (née Poppin’ Fresh) Restaurants, our go-to places for pie. For a season the year before last, it seemed we had no sooner pulled into the parking lot of one of the many in the chain of franchised pie-shops, eager for key lahm pah, than a furtive hand turned the “OPEN” sign in the window around to read “CLOSED,” and, after a moment, re-emerged briefly with a Magic Marker™ to add the heart-chilling word “FOREVER.”

One by one Baker’s Square Restaurants went pfft and darkened like spent light bulbs.

But HOPE lived. We had read or heard or intuited or dreamt that out West there were “Pie Joints aplenty.” Lemon meringue was not some vague misremembered childhood fairy tale, but a present reality, shining like a yellow beacon from the direction of the setting sun.

Oh? Really?

Dupars, you say? Coco’s Family Restaurants, you shamefacedly offer. Marie Callender’s Restaurant and Bakery, you add with a glimmer of hope.

Yes, yes. By strict dictionary definition, I suppose you will find pie there.

And yet…


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