Hugh Brown. Short-order cook, carpenter, mechanic, soldier, postman and racehorse trainer. Clown, Lutheran, baseball lover, habitual repairer and master builder. He built his family a three-story house in the early ‘50s. He built me a rockinghorse when I was a baby. He built damn good pies too ... Pumpkin and pecan at Thanksgiving (with pies it’s never EITHER always BOTH). Apple, hot with vanilla ice cream or cold with a slice of sharp cheddar. Cherry for my little brother’s birthday. Blueberry. Strawberry rhubarb. Peach when he visited us down south. Vidalia onion, once (or my memory’s wishful & hungry). Hugh knew: Damn good pies are built to be shared. A pie must travel or it’s just plain gloating.
To ensure your pie arrives alive, you will need a pie carrier. You will build it like one of your pies: with your own hands, and alongside someone you can still teach to crack eggs or hammer straight. You’ll use simple tools, scrap wood, nails & screws, a whittled wooden handle. Your pie carrier will have a sliding door and a removable shelf. It will hold one tall cake or two classic pies.
You’ll tape a label to the handle. Times New Roman, tiny American flag. Your name and the address of the assisted-living apartment you’ll move to when the tall house trounces your hip replacements. You’ll build pies there through your mid- 80s.
Eventually, you will forget to put your constructions into the oven. You roll crusts, mix fillings, and end up elsewhere, derailed. The sturdy portable two-story pie carrier will wait on the kitchen table, its sliding mouth full of invisible passengers.
-Emily DeDakis is the daughter of a musician and a journalist. She grew up in the Southeast U.S. and emigrated to Belfast, N. Ireland, in 2005. As dramaturg & producer for Accidental Theatre, Emily has developed scripts with dozens of playwrights. Dramaturgy credits include: Gordon Osràm’s Funeral (2016); The Lost Martini (2015); The Kitchen, the Bedroom & the Grave – winner of a Stewart Parker Trust award (2014); & The Dutiful Wife (2013). She founded the Belfast version of Fast & Loose, a 24-hour theatre project now in its 10th year. Emily’s prose has appeared in The Vacuum, The Yellow Nib, Ulster Tatler, Poetry Proper, and on 2SER (Sydney). She is currently working on Shipwrecks & Lighthouses (a stage play), Stowaway City (a soundwalk) and F R E A K FLOODS (a text-sound collaboration with harpist Úna Monaghan).
(psst: See the companion story to "Traveling Pies" on our Noteworthy blog.)