Blueberry Pie in a Bicycle Basket

Contributed by: Treacy Colbert

It was an important errand. My mother sent my sister and me to Magee’s Bakery in Lexington, KY, to fetch a blueberry pie. We hadn’t been charged with a task of this enormity before, but Mom must have credited us with enough skill and responsibility for the job at ages 10 and 7. Magee’s was a 10 minute walk from our house, and no doubt my mother assumed we’d make the trek on foot.

Mary lit on the idea of riding her brand-new Schwinn English racer to Magee’s. She may have wanted to show off her new bike, or leave me behind, or both, but she set off without me, the bright blue of the new bicycle glinting in the sun.

In 1964 parents didn’t dog their kids endlessly. My mother never questioned how we’d get to the bakery or told us to watch out for stranger or cars. In that sleepy neighborhood on that quiet summer day, it never would have entered her mind to warn us about anything.

My sister sped up to the house a few minutes later, slightly flushed, triumphant. there was just one small problem. She had tucked the white bakery box in her pannier basket that hung over the rear wheel – sideways. The crust and jewel-like fruit slid like lava, a fact that went undiscovered until my mother opened the box.

I remember her scolding Mary, and I can still see my sister’s face falling in disappointment and embarrassment. The became an instant cobbler, no real loss.

Mary died of cancer in 1988 at age 33. I miss so many things about her – her dry wit, her slightly devilish ability to mimic anyone’s voice, her unfailing generosity. But most of all I miss not being able to share those childhood memories. I don’t know if she would remember the smashed blueberry pie from Magee’s, but I know she’s laugh if I reminded her.