Hi, all, Daniel-of-2015 here.
2015. Does anybody else get this thing where you’re going about your business and suddenly for whatever reason—or none—it hits you; I’m living in THE FUTURE. Like, there are cars that park themselves, cell phones with more intelligence than some countries’ spy agencies, actual robotic prosthetic arms (you know, like Luke Skywalker’s)….
Today, right now, what does it for me is just the date, 2015. I mean, I can remember the eighties.
Happy belated Pi Day. June and I decided to go all out and had pie every single meal of the day. We had quiche for breakfast, home-made pizza for lunch, and then chicken pot pie for dinner (yes, I know where the chicken came from). And for dessert….
Allen, Lo, and Alexis came over for dinner, and while we were eating Carly kept calling the meal “tend pie.” She’s talking a lot, now, you can have a simple conversation with her as long as you keep everything present-tense, but we couldn’t figure out what “tend pie” might mean. “Tend” didn’t seem like any possible mispronunciation of “chicken,” which Carly calls “tzikkin” anyway. Finally, June got it—"tend pie" meant pretend pie.
“What is a real pie?” she asked.
“Only apple pie is real? No, there are other real pies. What are some other real pies?”
“Um, apple?” Carly seemed to realize she’d said that one already. “Tzerry, boo-berry, um, tzocolate? Apple…peace! Um…apple….” Peach meant peach. She can’t quite do that sound yet.
“Somebody likes apple pies,” commented Lo.
“Well, we made one for dessert,” explained June. To Carly, she said “Those are all great pie flavors. Chicken is another flavor. This is chicken pie.”
Allen was watching all of this with a fond and fascinated smile.
“What defines something as pie?” he asked.
“Dad, she’s two, she can’t answer that,” said Alexis, sounding exasperated.
“But she already did answer,” he protested. “She listed examples. That’s a valid way to explore a category. It sounds like she thinks pie ought to be sweet.” He looked over at me, briefly and I nodded. He got up and went to fetch armfuls of objects from the kitchen.
“Is this a pie?” he asked, showing Carly an apple.
“Is this a pie?” he showed her a jar of honey.
“No!” she giggled. She seemed to like the game. He tried her with chocolate, raisins, sugar, bread, and Graham crackers. None of them were pie, according to Carly. Allen returned to the kitchen and started poking around. June ran in and joined him. Dinner lay abandoned.
June knows Allen well enough that she understands his style. She got out the extra pie crust we’d been planning to freeze and two dozen mini pie tins. We moved our plates and everything to one end of the table, greased all the tins and lined them with crust, and started trying out different fillings.
A handful of chopped apple in a tin was a pie. A whole apple in a tin was not. Chocolate pudding, peach jam, and raisins all counted as pie, provided they were in a crust, in a tin. Chopped carrots, chopped cabbage, and chopped onions all did not count. Mashed potatoes did, but I’m not certain Carly knew that’s what they were. Pasta sauce left her deeply unsure. Carly’s emotional stamina, her willingness to keep exploring the definition of pie, was remarkable.
Finally, Allen showed Carly the tiny apple pie and the one with the carrot filling and asked her what the difference between the two was. She couldn’t answer. So he tried again and asked if the carrots were pie. As before, she said no. So he asked why not.
“Dinner. Not dessert,” she answered, very cogently.
“So you can’t have pie for dinner?”
“Why not? I have pie for dinner.”
“Mommy said you can’t have pie for dinner?”
“Well, then, June?”
June admitted, rather sheepishly, to saying you can’t have pie for dinner.
“Honey, that’s not what I meant,” she explained. “You can’t have dessert pie for dinner because it is too sweet. But there are dinner pies, too."
"Yes! Chicken pie is real pie, a dinner pie."
We all thought that was a good idea, so June added appropriate seasonings to all the experimental pies and stuck them in the oven and we finished dinner. And we adults (and Alexis) talked further about what is and is not a pie. It felt very much like the "Philosopher's Stone Soup" dinners we used to have on campus.
Then we had apple-flavored dessert-pie and tasted all the little experimental pies. They all tasted pretty good, even the carrot pie and the pasta sauce pie.
I was going to talk more about my narrative, but as so often happens these days, my writing has been hijacked by my daughter. So I guess I'll put off further discussion until the next interlude--except to say that now that Aidan is officially a student of the school--our only student, at present--I really wish we could do an egg-hunt contest for him, just like we used to do on campus. The others agree...but we haven't figured out any way to do it.