The children were back in school, the clothes washed and hung out to dry in the bright sunshine with a helpful breeze blowing.
Mary asked her sister-in-law, “What shall we do next, Mattie?”
“Remember those lemons we bought from Mr. Barnes, the peddler?” Mattie asked.
Mary’s eyes sparkled. “Lemon Meringue Pie!”
“We’d better make two of them so there’s enough for everyone,” Matttie said.
Everything was ready to start “Operation Pies” just as Lewis, Mary’s husband, came through the back door.
“We have a breakdown at the mill that will take at least an hour to repair, so we’ve brought the planks to put down after we paint the kitchen floor,” Lewis informed the ladies. The “ladies” glanced quickly at each other.
“Now?” they cried. “We’re ready to make pies for our supper dessert.”
“You’ve walked the planks before now,” said Mattie’s husband Fred. “This way we get both jobs done.”
“Ours with great difficulty, but I suppose it’s equally important to get the floor painted again before cold weather sets in,” said Mary, ”especially with the break at the mill making the time available.”
Floor painted, the planks stretched from threshold to threshold about the room, Mattie and Mary made the two pies and a lemon sponge pudding!
Mattie carried one of the bronze-topped pies to the pantry, while Mary picked up its twin and started across the planks.
The sudden appearance of a man in the kitchen doorway startled Mary causing her to drop the pie, upside down, into the barely-set paint.
“Oh, Mr. Parsons! You startled me! That pie is no good now.” Mary said as she looked down at the lemon meringue puddle at her feet.
Mr. Parsons was an elderly man with a pirates patch over one eye, tattered clothes, a crumpled hat, and a large walking stick. Though he was considered blind, he had an infallible nose for picking the homes where there was always good cooking, so he did very well in the meals department.
“Now, Mrs. Stafford, I wouldn’t call that accident a total loss. Just give me a spoon and in no time at all that whole lemon puddle will disappear.”