Rhubarb Pie and Secrets
The idea of rhubarb pie always popped into his head around Thanksgiving time. And at last the day had arrived, deep into Fall, the leaves all but gone from the trees, the days already growing shorter, the seasonal march into darkness. And there it was that yearning for a rhubarb pie. Of course he had no idea how to make one. He saw his job as consumption only. Not that he was averse to cooking; he loved to cook, and in fact would do most of the preparation for Thanksgiving dinner, where a host of family and friends would gather.
He never learned to bake. Well there was more to it than learning to bake. He knew well that people liked it when someone else took the time to prepare food for them. Take breakfast for instance, the smell of hot coffee or herbal tea, the aroma of bacon or sausages; he knew it a fact that he could draw the sleepiest person to the breakfast table for such a feast, a feast that would also involve scrambled eggs, choices of jams, bits of fresh fruits, and toast made from homemade bread. There is a special love that goes into cooking for folks. The folks might be caught up in the ambiance of the food; he knew better; it was the love that mattered.
He loved rhubarb pie, and if the truth be known, he liked strawberries to be part of it. The two blended so well. And he accepted that whoever made the pie was offering a most special gift to him. He would always find someone to bring along his most sacred of dishes.
His morning went to taking care of everything: preparation of the turkeys, all the vegetables, meat pies, smoked bits of hams and turkey for picking on as the ovens did the main work of the feast to come.
The first guests arrived, and the celebration commenced. Hugs were exchanged, music turned on, fires and candles lit, stories shared, the house filled with the joy of the season. And he noted as his rhubarb pie made its entrance, the gathering was complete.
Perhaps it was the wind that caught his attention. That seemed somewhat silly to him though; the din of the conversation was well beyond the call from any wind that was blowing outside. Indeed as he came outside and looked to the trees, not a branch stirred. No one else followed him out; they would eat first and then enjoy the outside fire, or perhaps take a walk up through the woods.
He walked down pass the fire pit to where the old oaks stood setting themselves in hibernation for the cold winter to come. The sun was dipping down to the west and lighting up the oaks to about three quarters of the way down their huge trunks, the bottoms already in shadow. He had always found it amusing to have the sun climb up the trees and then blink out—a wonderful gift for living on a hill. He passed one tree and then another, touching the bark of each one as he did. Sleep well my friends.
There it was again. No, not wind; a whisper. How odd that he had heard it inside the house when he could barely hear it here. His mind playing tricks? He moved further into the stand of oaks. Maybe it was time for him to go back. He needed to take care of his guests. He turned and placed his hand on one more oak. Yes, it was time to go back…
Oh my. A Gray Wolf sitting in the path he had walked along. He kept his hand on the oak as he met the gaze of the wolf. And then the whispering… words this time … a warning, no a summons, he must come when he was alone, as no one else should know.
The Wolf leaped to the side of the small path and disappeared. He let go the tree. The beating of his heart pounded in his ears.
He wondered if this would be the last rhubarb pie he would ever taste.