In 1929, when the Eureka Springs City Auditorium had its grand opening, my grandfather McKinley Weems was there, but not to see John Philip Sousa or hear the famous Sousa Band. No, young Mac was down in the basement at the pie supper.
Jack McCall, my other grandfather, had his farm on Kings River and always ate the same thing for breakfast: two fried eggs, bacon and toast. Unless, of course, there was pie available, then he had some of that, too. If he only wanted a small piece he’d say, “Cut me a sliver.” If he was especially hungry, he’d say, “Cut me a slab.”
Lola Weems is a master pie maker, with both taste and crust perfect. Betty McCall also made good pies, but she went more for quantity. When the masses descended on holidays, she’d have an epic pie buffet set up on the giant chest freezer. Some of my uncles would race through meals to be the first to the coconut cream pie. So, if accused of liking pie, I can claim the defense that I come by it honestly.
As an aside, one of the most ingenious feats of culinary engineering I am aware of is the Bedfordshire clanger. It is an English pie with the main course of meat and vegetables in one end, and a dessert of fruit or jam in the other. You start at the beginning and work your way through the meal.
With Thanksgiving set to spring upon us, I am thankful for many things, one of which is pie, but also for the emails, letters and phone calls I’ve received with stories, comments and bear sightings. They are much appreciated.
And if you know who has the best pie in town, let me know. I’m serious, I really want to know. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 43, Eureka Springs, 72632.
I hated to hear of the passing of Richard Kelley, a larger than life character of my childhood. Just recently someone told me that if I wanted to hear stories about Eureka Springs to talk to Richard as he had the best ones. I don’t doubt it.