You can imagine my reaction when yesterday I discovered that Pamela Anderson had made me a pecan pie. Someone hand-delivered the pie and there was a sticky note attached. It read: “Love, Pamela Anderson.”
I started to get light headed.
Granted, it might not be the famous Pamela Anderson, since the pie came from Thomas County, Georgia. But—and follow me closely here—the famous Pamela Anderson has not publicly denied knowledge of this pie.
I cut a slice and buried it with enough Reddi-Wip to cover Mount Rushmore. It was so sugary it gave me heart palpitations.
“What’re you eating?” my wife asked.
“Oh nothing,” I said. “Just a gift from Pamela Anderson.”
“Don’t make me say it again, honey. Celebrities are very funny about their privacy.”
My wife inspected the note and laughed at me. “What are you, fourteen years old? It’s not the celebrity, it’s just some woman named Pamela Anderson.”
But she is just jealous. Wives get that way when former television stars bake things for you.
If Pam happens to be reading this, she should know that pecan pie is my all-time favorite. That is, unless Anne Margaret bakes me a blueberry pie. Then my all-time favorite pie is blueberry.
Barbara Eden could make me liverwurst on a cracker.
Once, I had a job at an ice cream shop. I was recently married, taking a second job to pay the mortgage. The job paid minimum wage and it wasn’t a great gig. I was a glorified soda jerk, complete with a dorky uniform.
On my first day, the owner trained me to scoop ice cream, make malts, and say things like “Gee whiz, Beave’.” He was a grumpy man, elderly, and always in a funk.
The first order of business was to introduce me to the pie coolers. There were two. Each cooler was filled exclusively with cakes and pies. There were apple pies, strawberry, coconut cream, chocolate cream, and pecan.
“Whatever you do,” said the owner, “Don’t touch these pies or I’ll know about it, and I’ll fire you for stealing.”
This guy was one-hundred-percent serious. He made me take an oath. I had to literally swear not to eat the pies.
But of course, promising NOT to do something makes it harder not to do it. When I was a kid, my Sunday school teacher, Miss Crawley, made our class take a similar oath. We had to promise not to drink alcohol when we got older.
“What about beer?” Andrew Simms asked Miss Crawley.
“God hates beer,” said Miss Crawley.
So we all took an anti-beer oath and Miss Crawley was so moved that she started praying in tongues to the tune of “Nobody Gets Too Much Heaven” by the Bee Gees. I wish I were making this up.
Just writing the above paragraph made me thirsty for something cold.
Anyway, they let me manage the ice cream joint by myself. Mostly, I avoided the pies, but it got lonesome at night when we had no customers. I would glance at the coolers and feel temptation weighing on me.
One night, I noticed a particular pie through the refrigerator glass. Pecan. It was supple. Golden. Blonde crust. Firm filling. Illuminated by a faint light from above. I removed the pie. Just to look at it.
I asked the Lord not to tempt me beyond what I was able.
Then I got a fork.
I ate the whole thing.
My sin became a repetitive one. I ate pies almost every shift. Certainly, I paid for each one, but that’s not the point. The point is, it was wrong. And one night, the owner busted me.
He found me eating a pie in the back office. At first I tried to deny it, but the evidence was all over my cheeks. He hit the ceiling. He threatened to fire me. But he didn’t.
The next night, he worked my shift alongside me. He had watchful eyes, and it was one of the longest nights of my life. I made mistakes and kept dropping things because I was nervous.
But over the next few months we sort of became friends. I learned a lot about him, and he was actually a nice man.
I’ll never forget the evening when I came to work on my birthday. I never told him it was my birthday—I don’t go around telling people this unless they happen to be filthy stinking rich.
This birthday had been an awful day. I mean really bad. I was feeling crummy.
When my shift was over, after I finished mopping floors and cleaning the Third-World toilets which children from all over the county travelled many miles just to desecrate beyond recognition, we closed shop.
We were on our way to our vehicles when the old man handed me a white pastry box.
“What’s this?” I asked.
“This is for you,” he said. “My best employee.”
It was a chocolate cream pie.
Then he sang “Happy Birthday.” The whole song. Start to finish. Even the “ANNNNDD MANY MOOORRRE” part.
I didn’t know what to say. We sat on his vehicle bumper and ate the whole thing with plastic utensils. It wasn’t like he had done anything monumental, but the gesture meant so much. I suppose simply being noticed was the nicest thing anyone could have ever done for me.
Which is why this pie tastes so good. Thank you, Pamela Anderson.
Look me up, Barbara Eden.
Sean Dietrich is a columnist and novelist known for his commentary on life in the American South. He has authored nine books and is the creator of the “Sean of the South” blog and podcast. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to [email protected].
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