I’m a sucker for an experience. Offer me a chance to haul my brood to pick cherries from a tree during the golden hour and I will jump at the chance! Thanks to the generosity of a friend from church, we were given that chance! It was just as lovely as it sounds. The sun was gleaming through the trees, the kids were excited to find and pick plump cherries from the branches. I picked my share of cherries and stood back to watch the experience unfold. I’ll remember it fondly, the crimson stains on Remi’s hands from the juices, Finn’s enthusiastic exclamations as he discovered yet another fruit-laden branch to pick from, and Miles’ hopeful (and repetitive) requests that we go home and make the best cherry pie ever.
In a blur of moments the picking experience was done, leaving us with a bucket of rich red orbs and the growing anticipation of the pie-making experience.
Prepping for the Pie
Here is where things veered a bit off the rails of my expectations. We didn’t give much thought to preserving our precious haul and in the chaos of our nightly routine we left the bucket sitting on the counter overnight. Early the next morning I realized our oversight and stuck them quickly in the refrigerator. Later that day I began the process of removing stems and picking out any rejects when I noticed that a white mold had already begun to grow in patches throughout the bucket. I sorted out the keepers, tossing almost a third of them that had rotted overnight.
That day I managed to sort and rinse them all and test the straw method I had planned to use for pitting them. I quickly came to the conclusion that this would not be a quick task and decided to wait until Steven could pick up a cherry pitting tool I had spotted earlier in the week on sale. Fancy new tool in hand, I began the pitting process that night after the kids were asleep and had every intention of finishing up the next day.
Unfortunately things were further derailed when Remi woke up sick and things just got crazy from there. We ended up out of town and preoccupied with her recovery and getting our life back to normal. By some miracle (vastly out-shadowed by the miracles God worked in the life and health of both Remi and Steven that week) I managed to get the remainder of the cherries pitted and prepped for the pie.
The Cherry on top of a Crazy Week
That weekend found me assembling a pie from the cherries we had picked nearly a week before, a week that held so many emotions and unexpected events. I watched Remi’s chubby hands reaching for the ingredients, a bit less chubby now after losing weight while sick. I thought back to the day we had picked them, when her hands had been stained with cherry juice when we had gathered at the cherry tree for a summer experience, not knowing the other experiences that were in store for us. It was a poignant reminder of the easy way we were that summer evening a week before. It also sparked another wave of extreme gratitude thinking back to all that God had done to bring Remi and all of us through that crazy week. Once again he had delivered us. In the way God often floods us with love and grace, He also allowed us to bake and enjoy a delicious cherry pie after all.