As Good As It Gets

OK, I can say I felt a little patriotic today, July 4th. No, really, I’m not just saying that. Well, maybe it was just festive, but I appreciated the freedom to do what ever I wanted with today. I filled my freedom and blew it up all over the day. It was a cherry pie day from tree to table.

While sipping coffee at the crack of noon, perusing the internet, since the NYTimes can’t seem to find my house to deliver the damn paper, a friend called and said, “The cherry trees are ready to be picked, I took off the net, and the birds will get to it soon.” So I and my neighbors drove down south of town to his house, and picked juicy, sour cherries for a couple of hours, till we had gallons of cherries. This is all from one tree.

They told me I had to pit all the cherries by tonight or they would turn to mush, and then would be hard to pit. And freezing them before pitting would do the same thing. Well, I didn’t have time to pit them right away, because I was supposed to help another friend with cleaning her garden a bit.

So I drove to her house, with the two gallons of cherries in the back seat, and announced we were going to make a cherry pie, and that I needed help pitting. I made a competition with her son as to who could pit the fastest. I won, but we got 5 cups pitted, enough for a pie. The son and I went to the store together and got all the supplies for pie. There’s something pleasantly rebellious, absurd, ironic about making a pie on a hot day. But the wheels were in motion.

I assembled the pies (1.5 pies) and stuck them in the oven. While it baked, I gardened a bit. She and her son helped, but also tended to a sick puppy they have. During this time, some of her neighbors came over and gave free advice on the puppy. Finally the pies were done.

But I was late for a visit with other friends, so I left the small one with my friend, and took the larger one to dinner with other friends. The four of us sat on his deck and had grilled salmon, a nice wilted salad (appropriate for the hot day) and when it came to dessert, I invited them over for, guess what, PIE!

Off we hopped to my house, not far away. Again, we sat outside in my garden, and had sour cherry pie and French vanilla ice cream. Yum. As you may remember, only a quarter of the cherries had been pitted so far, so I bargained with one of those friends to pit some for a pie. He was speedy Gonzales, I think he likes my pie.

After dessert, we met some other friends (the same neighbors as before) for a walk to see the local fireworks, which are really the best in the city. (Clintonville is a very community oriented town within Columbus.) I live near the park where the fireworks are set off. A ten minute walk through a wooded park took us there.

The field where everybody sets their blankets is huge. We had at least a 20 foot buffer around us, but there were lots of folks there. A fun crowd, lots of sparklers, little fireworks, glow lights, glow necklaces, live music, fun. The band played Earth, Wind and Fire hits and “Play that funky music, white boy” what ever the song is. I had my sparklers in two hands, swaying to the music, wiggling around like a little kid.

Then the fireworks started. Wow. It was a great show, and at least 25 minutes long. The nice thing about local fireworks is you are closer to them, so they looked huge. I thoroughly enjoyed the show, freely emitting ooooohs and ahhhhhs. I let my mind soften to the fantastic display, drooling color, crackle, sizzle, bang.

On the walk back, everybody was a chatter, happy, fulfilled. I feel pretty proud to be able to live in a country where that much spontaneous fun is possible in one day. That’s my kind of Independence Day.

The cherries never did all get pitted.

Half hour later…I finished pitting the rest of the cherries, 13 hours after getting them. Today was a “pit”ifully perfect day!

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