I am sorry to have to tell you a sad story about pie. I know you have your own troubles, and you don’t need to worry about pie.

But we all need to band together to stop the declines wherever we find them.

Here’s the thing: last week I had to drive out to Essex along the shoreline to do an interview with a woman who had redone her house. I am fine with people redoing their houses. I can stand around and look at celery green walls and new wallpaper swatches with the best of them, and then crawl home to my mismatched dishes and old Turkish rug that lives in the kitchen because it can’t go anywhere else…and never again think about what color my walls SHOULD be, unless I get in one of those moods.

But I was excited because…because…well, to drive to Essex means that you get to go through Old Saybrook, which is the home of a tiny little farmstand right out of the 1940’s. I swear, this place has vegetables that just call out your name, they are so fresh and round and plump and delicious. But best of all, while you’re there, you start to sniff the air and by god, you’re right, it’s the unmistakable fragrance of…PIE!

And in the back of this falling-down little farmstand, a woman in an apron is manning a rickety little oven running on extension cords, an oven that couldn’t possibly hold more than two pies at a time, and she’s pulling them out of the oven, so golden brown and crusted with sugar…and OH MY GOD YOU HAVE TO GIVE ME ONE OF THOSE PIES I WILL DO ANYTHING YOU SAY ONLY GIVE ME THAT PIE.

If it’s early in the morning, chances are you can actually have one of those pies. It’s blueberry and she just made it, and it’s still warm in its little pan, and it’s all you can do not to just sit in the car and eat it over the steering wheel.

Believe me, all summer there have been mornings when I have awakened and thought: OK, should I jump out of bed and drive 25 miles with gas being $4.39 a gallon just to see if I’m early enough for one of the fresh blueberry pies, or should I go to the gym and then come home and write my novel and behave like a responsible citizen?

I am ashamed to tell you that I have always chosen Box Number Two, and so I have had no pie. THAT is how overdeveloped my sense of responsibility has become lately. A tragic turn of events.

But then! Then! I get to legitimately drive to Essex, on account of work and all, and yes, it’s a little bit early, but not really, really early but maybe the fates will smile on me, and I will get a pie.  I am salivating as I head out of the house.

And yes–the farmstand is still there. Young boys in jeans are dropping off piles of corn on the cob into a wooden bin. Fat, red tomatoes with no diseases are glistening in the sun. And omigod, I ask the young woman behind the counter if she has any blueberry pie left, and she gives me a funny look and says, “Sure.”

I exclaimed to everyone in the place how they had to buy a blueberry pie, too, on account of these being the best blueberry pies anywhere on God’s earth…but then it was weird, because the lady working there kept giving me quizzical looks, looks that say, “Who IS this crazy woman?” and “Are we going to have to call the authorities?”… and then when I went to pay for it, she said, “You know, we’re getting more in tomorrow and they might be better…” and you guessed it. When I got to my car and opened up my bag, inside was just a plain old ordinary, garden-variety, anybody-coulda-made-this blueberry pie with the machine-fluted crust, packed in a PLASTIC DOME BOX–something you could have bought at Stop & Shop–NOT the spectacular homemade pie with the little broken-off pieces of crust. 

And I hate to overdramatize this or anything, but I think we can see this for what it is: evidence of a further decline of civilization, as far as I’m concerned. When I told my friend Tammy, she said it is just one more thing that George W. Bush and this administration are going to have to answer for. We don’t know how or why, but I’m sure there’s a connection somehow, and Tammy is going to be looking into it to see if civil action can be taken.

First they do away with the fourth amendment, and now the fresh blueberry pies from farmstands.

Meanwhile, I am simply going to have to make my own blueberry pie. Which probably isn’t such a TERRIBLE thing to have to do, but it’s hot in the house, and my blueberry pies…well, they’re just not as good, frankly.

Does anybody have a great recipe for blueberry pie to pass along?