When I was in grad school, I once went to the Farmer’s Market. I think I was looking for flowers, though I can’t remember why.
What I found instead was this ancient man in overalls sitting on a bench with a flimsy card table in front of him loaded up with what his hand painted sign claimed was “Walnut Pies 50 cents.”
Well, Citizens of Earth, I don’t know about you, but I find a sign like that intriguing. So, I came over to peruse his pies.
“Walnut pies?” I asked, picking up the palm-sized dessert.
“Yes, ma’am,” he said, pointing with his cane towards the boxes next to him, which were also filled with tiny pies. “I make them myself.”
“I don’t even know what a walnut pie is.”
“My son don’t let me work no more and I got nothing to do all day but sit around his house getting old. So, I make walnut pies.”
“What do they taste like?”
“You got fifty cents?”
“Well, I have two dollars.”
“Good enough. Here’s four pies. I even got you a little bag. You like that? My daughter-in-law found them.”
“That was nice of her.”
“You enjoy them.”
“Are they like a pecan pie?”
“Pee-kahn?” He thought that was hilarious. “Pee-kahn? No, they ain’t like a pecan pie.”
“Okay, well, thanks.”
I wandered back to my car, got in, and opened one. I bit in. It was amazing. Unbelievably good. Like walnut brownie batter in a crust. I’ve never had one since, but damn.
Anyway, as part of my fantasy of running away to the outer banks, I would like to believe that there’s a small community of very old Southern men who all know how to make these delicious pies and, if I ask sweetly enough, they will teach me.