Sweet potato pies were a staple on our Thanksgiving table. When I was about fifteen, Mother was running way behind with the many demands of the day and coerced me into making the pies the day before Thanksgiving. I had better things to do; anything would have been better than being stuck in the house making pies. Mother didn’t play around that day. I wasn’t going anywhere or doing anything till those pies got made. I was not happy. All the other kids in the world got to do what they wanted to. I had to work all the time. It wasn’t my company coming tomorrow. I didn’t even like stupid potato pie. The only reason Mother had kids was so they could do her work.
I was experienced enough in the ways of the world to keep my smart mouth shut, but I fumed as I worked. Mother even had the nerve to jump on me about pouting. “You’d better stop that pouting and get in a better mood or I’m going to give you something to pout about.”
How in the heck do you fake a good mood? Like a true smartass, I burst loudly into “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” and got a swift kick in the butt for my efforts. It was always embarrassing when I pushed Mother far enough to get her in action. She’s about four feet ten inches tall and squeaks when she talks. It’s like getting swatted my Minnie Mouse. It just made me feel stupid!
Back to the pies, I cooked and peeled sweet potatoes till my eyes crossed, whipped eggs, mixed the batter, and finally got those pies in the oven. Just as I was getting ready to slip out the back door to slip out to catch my horse and ride, Mother caught me.
“Where do you think you are going? Get back here and clean up this kitchen……and quit trying to run off. I’m not through with you, yet. You can forget about that horse until all the cooking is done, the kitchen is cleaned up, and the floors are swept.” She was a slave driver.
Finally, after I muddled through the God-Awful mess I’d added to the breakfast dishes that were still piled in the sink, I got around to cleaning up my pie mess. I was putting spices back in the cabinet when I happened to notice the label on the can of what I’d thought was pumpkin-pie spice. FISH FOOD! I’d just put fish food in the pies instead of pumpkin-pie spice. I read the ingredients on the can…..insect and vegetable flakes! In view of the situation, I reasoned it would be far healthier to keep my mouth shut than worry Mother about a little thing like fish food in the pies. I put that fish food right back on the shelf and saved myself some trouble. I didn’t like sweet potato pies, anyway.
The pies were good. Everybody gobbled them up like they’d been craving fish food. It was years before I felt like anybody really needed to know.