Pat passes on piece of pie


Don Reid of the Statler Brothers recently wrote an article on Facebook about a game he and his family played at their Thanksgiving table this year. Don described it as a little game you can play with just about any family member or friend, old or new.

“Maybe the next time you go to lunch with someone or find yourself on a lengthy road trip or just sitting around drinking coffee and lying to one another, you can put this one to the test,” Don said.

“Tell me three things about yourself that I don’t know,” Don wrote.

To kick off the conversation, Don said these three things might be unknown about him.

“I seldom eat breakfast. I have a drawer full of old watches I can’t bring myself to throw away. And I kiss my dog on the top of her head numerous times every day,” he wrote.

Don has thousands of “friends” on his page, but I thought I would join the fun and post three things most people don’t know about me.

I am the president of the Clinton County Andy Griffith Rerun Watchers Club, “Just Arch Your Back and Purr.” In 1967, I told my mom I didn’t think “My Way” would be a hit for Frank Sinatra because I felt it was out of his vocal range. And I have never eaten a piece of pie in my life.

Within minutes, I received a private message from Don. “I am shocked that you have never eaten a piece of pie,” he wrote. “Tell me more about that pie.”

“I really don’t know why I have never eaten pie. My mom would bake one every Sunday, but I guess they have just never appealed to me,” I replied.

After I married, we would often would go to my mom and dad’s for Sunday dinner. The same ritual would take place: “Pat, would you like a piece of nice, warm pie?” my mom would beckon.

Each time I would respond: “No thanks, Mom. I haven’t eaten pie in my life, and I probably won’t start now.”

Brenda’s mom would go down the same path with me. Her mother was a southern cook and, shall we say, somewhat strong willed. Every time we ate with her it was the same thing: “Pat, get yourself a piece of pie.”

“No, thanks, Mrs. Freeman,” I would respond.

“It isn’t going to hurt you,” she urged.

“I know, but no, thank you,” I would reply.

“Don’t you like my pie?” she continued, playing the guilt card.

“They smell very good, but I just don’t eat pie,” I always replied.

Mrs. Freeman would shake her head and say, “I have never known anybody that hasn’t ever eaten a piece of homemade pie.”

There really is no mystery here. Some people don’t want to watch football or sports on TV. Some people don’t like to make speeches. Some don’t like snow. I just don’t want to eat pie.

I do have one regret. I should never have told Brenda that I don’t eat pie. If we are at a dinner party and there is a lull in the conversation, Brenda will often say, “Pat, tell them your story about never eating pie.”

I roll my eyes knowing what will soon follow. People immediately turn and look at me as if she just had announced I used to date Madonna. People shift in their chairs, and the stares soon turn quizzical. “Isn’t that pitiful,” I once heard a woman remark.

And there are other rituals. Every Christmas, son Greg asks, “Dad, what kind of pie would you like this year? We have pecan, apple, pumpkin, cherry, peach, coconut cream, strawberry and rhubarb” and he goes on to list another 50 types of pie.

“Thanks, Greg, but this year I don’t think I will have pie at all,” I say. We each laugh like we have every year since he was just a kid.

Maybe Joe Hill said it best, “Work and pray, live on hay, you’ll get pie in the sky when you die.”

Perhaps Hill and Don Reid are right. There is only so much pie to go around.

Pat Haley is a Clinton County commissioner.

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