Mima’s Sour Cherry Pie

“Your ever lovin’ Mima.”
That’s how she signed her cards to me.
That was her answer when ever she was asked about her well being.
(It is carved on her tombstone.)
“Look on the side of the Tapioca Box.”
Her recipe for sour cherry pie.

No secret. No shame.
She who defined the art of cooking for our family
used the recipe on that plain old box for her signature culinary creation.

Recalling the early days of pie making in her Uniontown kitchen.
The sour cherry trees grew out back. Early summer sunshine and swinging the old metal bucket.
Her three girls had the job of picking and pitting.
“Then Mother would clear a space on the formica table and with one motion sweep newspaper
clippings and magazines, phone books and other assorted kitchen clutter aside, toss some flour out and start rolling the dough. The cherries came in all at once so she must have made dozens of pies at a time.”

When my brothers and I were young our favorite trip was to visit Mima.
From one end of the Pennsylvania turnpike to the other. Knowing we were close when Mom reached into her purse for her lipstick, mirror and comb at the Donegal exit.
Pulling into the driveway and bounding up the broken cement walkway to the back door.

Greeted by a sweet smile and big old aproned hug and a line of pies set to cool by the porch window.
A bottle of pop and a slice of pie. Breakfast at Mima’s.

Mima was my constant.
Home base for my endlessly uprooted childhood.
Rock solid love and laughter.
And even though I knew the answer,
when, as a grown up I, needed the touchstone of her voice and a dose of good old Irish wit,
I would pick up the phone and ask my Mima for her sour cherry pie recipe.