I will always remember the first day my wife Carol, took me to the Hiser’s farm in Lexington, Ohio. She had told me so much about her many visits there over her early years. Remembering the summer days by the lake picking berries; sharing a swim with the Hiser kids and water moccasins; Ron’s adventures with the cows and other creatures; and summer storms. Helping with the hay harvest and exploring the old barn; riding her pony Cinders that she had parked there for years. Carol shared a lot of stories with fond memories as we walked around the fields and strolled down by the lake. The fresh smells of farm life were very refreshing to a boy raised in the desert of Arizona.
As we walked into the Hiser’s farm house, we were greeted there by Robin Hiser with a big smile on her face knowing that her mother, Ann had two of her famous blue ribbon apple pies cooling on the kitchen counter. The aroma was heavenly. Robin new what I was in for and her smile became a grin as we all sat around the table and were served big slices of pie and cold glasses of milk. It tasted every bit as good as it smelled. The flakey crust complemented the fresh, picked apples that had just cooled from the simmer of the baking process. I did feel a little silly chasing the last morsel of crust around my plate with the fork. I did not want to waste it.
After that day at the Hiser’s, I had my own fond memories of Ohio farm life. For years that followed, Ann made sure that she had a pie waiting at Carol’s parent’s house for us when she knew we were in town.
I remember the summer following the passing of Carol’s Dad; I made a trip by myself to Ohio to help Carol’s Mom, Edna with a few maintenance items around the house and at the rentals. I would work around doing some chores during the day and then go to back to Edna’s for dinner. She fussed over me a little too much and always made too much food. There would be no room left for the pie that Ann had dropped by.
As it was day light savings time, the sun would still be up for another three hours after dinner, so I took the opportunity to do a little trout fishing in Lexington. I had purchased an Ohio fishing license and a collapsing fishing rod & reel set and a few lures. My favorite place to fish was on a little stream just above one of the back road bridges near an abandoned train track. It had a lot of thicket on both sides of the stream and was a little tough to get through to cast my lure. That made it more of a challenge and exciting when I would hook a fish. I would release my catch to let it grow a little bigger for the next time.
While I was fishing, I would have the thought of that fresh apple pie popping up in my mind. It was amazing that I could even concentrate on the task at hand. About nine o’clock the sun was starting to going down and I was heading to the car. There was a Game Warden waiting there for me. She had a clip board in her hand and I thought she was prepared to write me a ticket. As it turned out, she was a student at Ohio State and worked as a Game Warden during the summer. She was conducting a survey on fishing and was curious how I did on the steam. I told her what I had caught that evening and what I was using for bait. I gave her approximate sizes and where I caught them. She was happy to have an entry in her report as I was the only one fishing on that stretch of the stream. By the way, if you’re curious to the location of the stream, I remember heading down the road to Lexington from Mansfield. Off to the right there are large grass covered fields. In the distance beyond the fields. there is a row of short, scrubby trees on the horizon that flanked the stream. I think I was about two miles below the main bridge in town. It was a great experience! After the survey was completed, I headed to Edna’s looking forward to a piece of Ann Hiser’s blue ribbon pie. Ann did a lot more than just baking and cooking. She was always there for Edna and a good friend to us. Carol and I took comfort in the fact that she would look in on Mom from time to time. Thank you Ann for all that you have done for so many. Happy Birthday! Oh yeah, thanks for sharing the special pie crust recipe!
Now where’s that pie!