Posted by: Mark Wollemann: On the move | August 26, 2019

Southern comfort and pie

I have started out most of my recent blog posts with my version of a confession: Forgive me, readers, it’s been x days, weeks, months since my last post.

This one is brought to you by pie.

Regular readers of this irregular blog know pie is near and dear to my heart. It formed the foundation of my daily diet during the 2016 bike ride across America. It was the theme of a T-shirt my daughter, Jenna, made for us to wear at the end. And pie has also played a large part in my childhood memories.

shirt picMy Uncle Richard was famous for his lemon meringue pie. My mom made pies regularly (with crusts made from scratch, of course), as did my grandmother and many of my dear aunties (though my Aunt Theresa made a devilishly good German cherry cheese tort of some kind that was, I would guess, about 3,000 calories a slice. But it was damned good. Not pie, but it belongs in this paragraph).

One of my favorite pie stories from childhood had to do with pumpkin pies and our black Labrador Jet. (Mom baked three, put them on the porch to cool. Jet ate two, kind of torpedoing Thanksgiving. But that’s a Lab for you. No regard for traditions or holiday desserts.)

Which brings us to today. As I was toiling away from home (where I’m working now for the sports website The Athletic), I got a ding on my phone. It was our new neighbor, Linda. When we moved to Natchitoches a couple of weeks ago (after Melody took a job teaching at Northwestern State University here), we were lucky enough to find a beautiful furnished home in the historic section of this lovely Southern town. Everyone is super friendly. The place is charming. The food is good (and oftentimes better than that). And there’s even a brewery.

Anyway, neighbor Linda was gone for a week or so and we kept an eye on her house. We brought in the newspapers and packages, and generally watched over the place. You know, as you do for neighbors. But when my phone dinged this morning, it was Linda. “Can I stop by for a second?” she asked.

“Of course.” I’m always happy for company. I mean, when you work from home, a visit from the mail carrier is a welcome distraction. (And I’m eternally grateful for our little guy, Harry, who keeps me company, too — though he sleeps most of the day.)

I met Linda at the back door and she was carrying a pie! A blueberry pie!

Let me tell you what’s even more welcome to a person who works from home. Pie, that’s what.

“Listen, I want you to know how much I appreciate what y’all did,” she said. “This is how I show my appreciation.”

And with that, she handed me the pie (which clearly had just come out of the oven) — along with a lovely glass ornament!

pieListen, I’m never one to turn down pie (if you look at me, you’ll know that’s true). Though pie is not really totally to blame. Beer. Let’s say beer is the issue. And the endorphin rush I get from eating and drinking. Yeah, let’s go with that.

I mean, I get that some people experience that exercising high — and I do, occasionally exercise. But I mostly get my “buzz” through food and drink.

So after chatting with Linda for a few minutes, I brought the pie in, carved out a piece, poured myself a cup of coffee on this 96-degree day and went back into my work cave to do some editing (and to dash off a little blog post).

So, yes. We’re in Louisiana. We are loving it here. There’s history around every corner. Neighbors bake pies. And it snows “every couple of years.”

Pie coffee desk work

Pie and coffee go together with working from home, it turns out.

Harry likes pie too

Turns out, Harry likes a little blueberry pie, too.



  1. Glad y’all are settling in. Southern hospitality definitely is a real thing.

  2. ,,,, A little pie music for your enjoyment! In my travels through the south all I can say is that the folks I came across were friendly, helpful, and charming! A word I don’t use, but fits perfectly. Hope you enjoy your time in Natchitoches, maybe you guys will get lucky and this will be the year it SNOWS!!! πŸ™‚

  3. I see a future blog subject: Pies of Louisiana.

    • We’ve got meat pies here in Natchitoches, but I’m kind of partial to sweet pies. A Louisiana tour? Maybe.

  4. Looks like you’ve chosen your new home wisely, Mark. πŸ™‚

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