Yesterday we decided to take a drive up to the mountains of San Diego County, to a little town called Julian and enjoy a little fall foliage, and indulge in a piece of Moms Apple Pie. Seriously, there is a pie shop called Moms. The drive takes about an hour, and the scenery goes from big city to mountains with big rocks and little foliage of any kind to mountains with trees in abundance with lakes and cows and folks riding their horses on a Sunday afternoon.
Every fall when the apples are being picked and the leaves are changing Julian turns from a charming small town to a mecca for those of us looking for a break from the city. It’s also the place we city folk go when it snows to enjoy a few hours horsing around in the white, fluffy snow before we get back in our cars and head for the beach!
We put Rob Lowe’s book “Stories I only tell my Friends” into the CD player and off we went. The book, by the way is marvelous. Rob Lowe not only writes a wonderful book, he reads it in a way that made us feel he was sitting in the car with us telling us his story.
Anyway, by the time we arrived in Julian, the little town was filled with city folk yearning for a look and a feel of a simpler way of life. We didn’t so much notice that as we did that the line to get in to Moms pie shop was halfway down the block. We managed to find a place to park, not a small feet on a fall foliage, apple pie eating Sunday afternoon, and off we headed to Moms.
We got into line and the closer we got to the front door of Moms the more amazing the smells became. Apples, cinnamon, sugar, butter. When we got close enough to look in the windows there they were. Apple pies, Peach pies, Apple Cherry, Apple Boysenberry, Peach Cherry, Pumpkin; Pies, Pies, Pies.
While standing in line I started thinking about why all of us were standing in this line waiting to buy a piece of pie to eat there and of course a pie to take home. It’s not like we can’t buy a pie in a store in San Diego. They have perfectly good pies in our grocery stores, and Costco makes a pumpkin pie that will knock your socks off. What is it about Moms pie that makes you want to drive for an hour one way, and stand in a line what stretches down the block?
Perhaps it’s not the pie that draws us to Moms pie shop in Julian, CA. Perhaps it’s the memory of what an apple pie is to those of us of a certain age. A simpler time when nothing was more American than Moms apple pie, and we all cared about one another and it wasn’t so hard to be an American. Perhaps it’s the promise of what we as Americans can be again.
Oh hell no, it’s the pie. I had a piece of apple cherry with a big ole scoop of vanilla ice cream. The crust was perfect, the pie was filled with apples, cherries, sugar, and the crumb topping on top was the perfect blend of flour sugar and butter. It was simply the best pie I have ever had in my life. Susan had a piece of apple boysenberry with a big ole scoop of vanilla ice cream and she had the same reaction as I did. The best piece of pie in her life, ever.
We ate our piece of pie in Moms pie shop and watched the line of people come and go. There was no recession in Moms pie shop. Each whole pie was $15.00 and each piece with ice cream was $5.00. People were buying five or six pies at a time, and the six tables they had in the little shop were always filled with folks eating their piece of pie, and there were always people waiting to sit.
After we devoured our pieces of pie, we grabbed our whole pie and walked down the main street of Julian walking in and out of shops just enjoying our afternoon. A woman stopped us and asked about the Moms pie I was carrying like it was a treasure of some kind. What is so special about those pies, she asked? Why would you stand in that line and pay $15.00 for a pie? Susan and I both just looked at her like she was crazy. Have you ever had a Moms pie? Oh no, I would never pay that much for a pie she said. Well then – there you have it. Until you taste the pie, you will never understand…
It’s the same with life – Until you taste it – you will never understand…