Pies # 8 Small Packages

Pies #8: Mini cherry pies
"If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way." ~Napoleon Hill

I purchased these mini pie tins at Target a few years ago. I had seen recipes and pictures of little pies all over the internet and I wanted to try baking with them. The tins are also handy when I just want to make a smaller version of one of my pies for my husband and myself...no leftovers! 

These particular pies I made on the 4th of July for my mom and my in-laws. My mother LOVES cherry pie, and I also thought they looked rather patriotic. If you read one of my previous blogs on my first botched cherry pie attempt, you will be glad to know that these turned out lovely. I used my Martha crust recipe AND canned sour cherries.  Sometimes the hard way is not the best way. Shortcuts are acceptable, especially if the end result tastes remarkably better. 

This got me thinking about small things, especially those gestures that you often don't even think about, but that have a big impact on others. A good friend of mine posted the other day that the driver in the car in front of her at Starbucks bought her coffee. She didn't know this person. She could afford to buy her own cup of coffee. It was just a small kindness that made her day. 

A few years ago when my boys were younger my mini van had a flat tire on the way home from work. I pulled over, got out of the car, and just sighed. I didn't know how to change a tire. I was hopeless in this department. In fact, this van was new so I didn't even know where spare was. As I said...hopeless. My boys were waiting for me to get home, and I didn't know what to do. (This was pre-cell phone days, by the way.) At that moment a young man appeared from the house in front of me and graciously offered to change the tire. I was so relieved. He efficiently took care of the situation, wiped his hands, and then began to walk back to his house. I thanked him profusely and offered to pay him for his trouble, but he just smiled and said, "No problem, m'am. I just hope someone else would do the same for my mom." Aside from the "m'am" crack, I was so grateful for his kindness and his time. I never even caught the kid's name.

When I was a teacher up in Wheaton I took a group of middle school students on the train to see Joseph and the Amazing Color Dreamcoat at The Chicago Theater. As we were traveling downtown I noticed that one of my girls had a ziplock bag full of coins in her lap. She told me that she had been saving her money so she could give change to as many homeless people she saw on our walk to and from the theater. She wasn't looking for accolades. It was something she wanted to do. This little girl's small gesture touched my heart. Now every year when my husband and I travel to Chicago at Christmastime for our annual birthday trip, I try to do the same thing. He just smiles patiently as I stop at various corners in order to pull crumpled dollar bills out of my purse to place in old, tattered cans or cups belonging to worn down souls. 

The small gestures we hand out to others can make the everyday weight of the world appear lighter: a smile, a thank- you note, a hug, or perhaps even a homemade pie delivered to a friend. They can cure most anything. 

"No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted." ~Aesop