Monday, July 10, 2006

Post Fourth of July Boxing Thank You Pie Gone in a Flash of my Sharp Sharp Teefs

I made a blueberry pie, motherf***ers!

I'm very sorry about that bad language, actually, but I am feeling so frightfully domesticated by this blueberry pie thing that I had to say a bad word or commit a sin as soon as possible just so my readers didn't begin to think I'm trying out for the housewife brigade or something up in here.

Because it gets worse. I made the blueberry pie in order to say thank you to my neighbor.

Why? I just moved from one little house in the hood to another last weekend (as I have mentioned no less than sixty times previously). When I finished moving I put all my boxes out front, broken down only partially, with the faint hope that the garbage men here in DC would pick them up despite a certain known rigidity about "unscheduled collection of bulk trash." I had convinced myself that I might wake up in the wee hours of the morning, pre-trash pick up style, to actually finish the task at hand, but naturally I did no such thing.

Later on that day, as I luxuriated in the newspaper and my morning latte, it occurred to me that the garbage had not yet been picked up, because all this had taken place after a mid-week holiday, which of course pushes trash collection back a day. So I went outside, scissors in hand, to break me down some boxes. But it would seem that someone had already beat me to the task because I stepped outside to find that all my boxes had been carefully broken down and placed neatly inside 7 heavy duty trash bags, lined up beside my recycling bin.

There is only one culprit for such a sweet act,and that's J----. Sure enough, when I came home from work that afternoon, J---- was sweeping broken glass out of an area where some children were playing and I asked him if he had done me the nice favor. He smiled shyly and nodded in the affirmative.

J---- is a true Southern gentleman, a transplant from South Carolina long ago, who now lives next door with Mr. and Mrs. G****. Mr. G**** acts as official community leader and unofficial godparent to half the kids on the block. And by the block, I mean street. You see, I live on a street in Northeast Washington that spans the distance of one city block. It's one of those wee little places tucked up among the letters, numbers, and states that seem to have been placed on the cityscape almost as an afterthought. And what better thing to do with a forgotten block than to throw a block party, like this?

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The block party, of course, was hosted by Mr. G****. I met the G****es when I moved in. Mr. G**** introduced himself straight away and offered me a piece of the fried catfish he was grilling up for the friendly gaggle of white haired fellas who flock to his front porch (more on that later) every day for food and friendship. It's like a scene out of barbershop, and just as charming, except for the one minute detail that the front porch is actually a rather unsightly makeshift tent rigged up in on the front lawn(and adjacent to my front door), dragging down property values even as he personifies the characteristics of a perfect neighbor. I've learned, however, to enjoy the tent. Come to think of it, the tent in the front yard could be Mr. G****'s otherwise gentlemanly way of sticking his middle finger up in the face of gentrification. But that doesn't seem to fit, since he treats the lot of us professionals who have moved onto the block to as much of his charm as anyone else and, if anything, seems to have a bemused affection for us white fools. During his July 4th party, he said to his son in law: "How about getting my picture with the white kids."

(Like this):

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So maybe it's not a protest after all, but is rather that he simply likes his tent and sees no reason to tear it down. After all, he has pictures hanging up inside of it. And for the July 4th block party, he actually put up an extension to the tent, (complete with a beach towel / American flag). I even helped put up the flag. See how helpful I look in this picture? Notice I'm using one whole hand to help, while the other clutches a beer.

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I suppose my attempts to stabilize Mr. G***'s beach towel / American flag weren't really that "helpful" after all. At least not helpful in quite the same way as breaking down your new neighbor's boxes and carefully setting them out for garbage collection tends to be helpful.

So that's what's up with the pie; I spied fresh blueberries at Eastern Market and decided to make the neighbors a thank you pie. Of course, I decided to use honey and a dash of vanilla in the homemade whipped topping and I had to taste a sliver of the pie and the toping together; you know, to make sure it tasted okay.

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(It did.)

It tasted so tasty and scrumptious that I ate 3 pieces of that bitch. I mean, after all, the edges were just the slightest bit crooked. It simply would not do for me to present nice people with such an affront. So now I have to close this blog and bake me another pie. Because fortunately for me, (and for the G****s and J****) I bought enough blueberries for two pies and doubled the dough when I made the first crust.

Happy baking, babies!

P.S. The block party, incidentally, was a resounding success. It got loud and rowdy towards the end of the evening, prompting the law to show up. But rather than concern themselves with the blatant open container violations or the dubiously legal fireworks display, the officers made straight for the buffet table. It turns out Mr. G**** had invited the officers, who are members of his extended family, to the feast.

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I have to say, I really love this neighborhood. A garish white tent next to your property is no small price to pay for a real sense of community here in otherwise stuffy DC.


Anonymous jesse said...


The closest thing I have to a "neighborhood community" here in my neck of the fine, fine borough of State College, PA is a group of alcoholic rednecks who sit around and bullshit at all hours of the night and day drinking Labatts and smoking schwag grass while listening to Def Leppard and Pink Floyd. Every once in a while I'll join them in their ridiculous debauchery so they won't think I'm a more-educated-than-thou metrosexual weirdo.

Plus it's kinda fun. And they're good guys at heart. But I wouldn't trust them with my girlfriend.

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and you didn't even address the mayhem that your pies alone caused...!

5:06 PM  
Blogger red storm said...

I claim no responsibility for this whatsoever and from now on will send my pieces of pie home with a disclaimer that I am in no way responsible for any subsequent disruptions to conubial bliss caused by my pies and the possesion and / or consumption thereof.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Jeff Simmermon said...

"It tasted so tasty and scrumptious that I ate 3 pieces of that bitch."

That's is my new favorite sentence. I may have to call a tattoo artist to see if I can get it across my (rock-hard) abs, TuPac-style.

5:48 PM  

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