Saturday morning and I'm in the thick of pie madness. Might I name drop here without mentioning actual names. One of the frequent pie-ers at the bakery is a Grammy award winning musician/composer for an Oscar winning film. Think Woody Allen. Think Midnight in a European City with an Eiffel Tower. I bake apple pies for this fellow, on a regular basis. Saturday at high noon, I was rushing out of the door armed with my very own Little Apple Pie when I stopped to exchange pleasantries with the aforementioned composer. He looked at the pie I was clutching and I said, "I know. I'm bringing my own pie on a road trip. Crazy, right?" He replied, in his most Français of accents, "Why not?" which really sounds like, "Whey nut?"
Crazy was just the beginning.
Suffice it to say that the road trip was to take us just outside the D.C. area. The occasion? A surprise party for the Bestest of friends. This translates to a time deadline. Let me add that the travelers included The Most Tolerant Spouse Ever in the driver’s seat and in the back seat, My Daughter the Classically Trained Actor and her trusty companion, Handsome Classically Trained Actor.
We set off with just enough time to deposit the Master Thespians at a Metro stop so they could attendRichard III in downtown D.C. and we could arrive at our surprise party in a timely fashion. The Little Apple Pie was to be a gift for the fellow hosting the Thespians. As we sped down Interstate 95, all seemed to be in order, until things began to spin out of control...
The incessant horn honking behind us seemed downright rude. Until the horn honker pulled up alongside us, lowered his window and yelled, "Your rear tire is flat!!!" Interstate 95 avails one of so many options... near death, or certain death. My man at the wheel brilliantly maneuvered our ailing vehicle out of harms way, off the highway to a woodsy patch of road. I'm thinking, "Damn. This is terribly inconvenient. We're going to ruin the surprise in Surprise Party." The Thespians are all-about-them wondering if they are going to miss their 8 o'clock curtain, but they are young and ever optimistic.
The Most Tolerant Spouse Ever may work on the Great White Way, but he hails from the Midwest. While I'm thinking, "What's the number for 9-1-1?!!" he's preparing to change the tire. He also thinks this might be an opportune teaching moment for the Master Thespians.
Please do not mock me, but I, of course, have never actually changed a tire from start to finish. It is because the idea of driving on a tire that I have changed concerns me. I also fear that I will injure my back. Many of my contemporaries can make the same claim; just ask them.
Wanting to participate in my own little way, I secure the car manual from the glove compartment. I toss around the word “donut” indicating I know the slang for spare, and point out where it’s located in the well between the front and rear seats. I even crawl along the side of the car, observing where the jack should align with the undercarriage of the car. And then, my most brilliant moment. As my calm and collected Chicagoan removes the faulty tire from its woeful rim, I exclaim, "WAIT! You don't want to set the lug nuts by the side of the road! They may get lost in the foliage. I'm a Pie-o-Neer Woman, I'll take care of this!" My contribution? I empty the Kleenex box and offer it as a secure vessel for housing the critical hardware. Twenty minutes later, we are reassembled in the car and on our way. The Thespians seem none too concerned about missing out on the tire-changing intricacies. They assure me they will be living in a city with public transportation. You have to admire the naiveté of youth. My daughter feels confident they will make their train and their 8 o'clock curtain. She also compliments her father on his grace under pressure and her mother on the safe-keeping of the lug nuts. We glance over to the Little Apple Pie. The odds of it being gifted seem to be dwindling.
Eighteen hours later, Party Revelers and Play Goers reunite for the trip home. It is a given that the return voyage will be on a spare 'donut' which will necessitate traveling well below the speed limit. This will add time to the journey and we don't want to slow things down because of course, the Actors have a NYC bound train to catch. We soldier on, staving off hunger and focus on catching the 4:54. We pull into the station with moments to spare, the rear tire limping in exhaustion. The Thespians gather up their bags and I realize we never gifted nor consumed our pie. As I kiss them goodbye, I reach over and hand them The Little Apple Pie as a parting gift. The Most Tolerant Spouse doth wish to protest, "Why?" but I hold up my hand and without saying a word shoot him a glance that says, "Whey nut?"