Making Pies.  This is one of my favourite songs.
It is an amazingly poignant poem.  Written and recorded by Patty Griffin, it is an unadorned tale told in bare, first-person words.  The protagonist doesn’t talk about her feelings, but in her description of her life we hear her pain and resignation. See how much you can learn about her in her words: (Click here to listen to the song.)
(I printed the lyrics here in case you want to read them after a listen.)

 

Making Pies

It’s not far, I can walk

Down the block to table talk.

I close my eyes

And make the pies all day.

Plastic cap on my hair.

I used to mind, now I don’t care.

I used to mind, now I don’t care

‘Cause I’m grey.

Did I show you this picture of my nephew

Taken at his big birthday surprise

At my sister’s house last Sunday?

This is Monday and I’m making pies.

I’m making pies, making pies.

Thursday nights I go and type

Down to the church for Father Mike.

It gets me out

And he ain’t hard to like at all.

Jesus stares at me in my chair

With his big blue eyes and his honey brown hair.

He’s looking at me

From way up there on the wall.

Did I show you this picture of my sweetheart

Taken of us before the war,

Of the Greek and his Italian girl

One Sunday at the shore.

We tied our ribbons to the fire escape.

They were taken by the birds

Who flew home to the country

As the bombs rained on the world.

Five a.m., here I am

Walking the block to table talk.

You could cry or die or just make pies all day.

I’m making pies, making pies.

 

Did you catch how she talks about her sweetheart? He is the Greek, she is the Italian girl. But he died in the war. She never married. She spends time with her sister and her sister’s son; she has no children of her own. Making pies is a mindless job for her. She could resign herself to a life of tears. Or she could just give up and die. But she makes pies. She has chosen to face life, and she has grown old making pies. Making pies, in this story, is such a brave thing to do. There is something so noble in this woman’s character. She is a hero, an every day, one-of-a-kind hero.

I love this song. Very few of us have epic “Taylor Swift” lyrics with which to illustrate our lives. (My daughter got Swift’s latest album for Christmas and so I have heard it quite a few times in the last few days.) But that doesn’t make our stories any less interesting or beautiful.

This year I want to spend time listening to the songs of the lives of those around me. I want to hear their simple, exquisite, unique stories.

And who knows, maybe I can translate some of them into written songs.

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