Isabel and I stand at the counter at nine o’clock at night fulfilling my fantasy of making my favorite pie, strawberry rhubarb, with berries and rhubarb from the Davis Square Farmer’s Market, a surprise stop this week in light rain on my way to the shoe repair shop, parking spot on the other side of the market from the shop. It is late and we have had a long day, but I want to leave something sweet for my family before I go for the weekend and then over a week away. My mom left me the self-same pie on her counter while I was visiting home last weekend, and it tasted like it always did, delicious. Want that taste again.

While Isabel is hulling berries and I am making crust, using my mother’s recipe for the strawberry rhubarb pie, taken from a Betty Crocker cookbook I found at a Texas Antique Mall, the same cookbook we used as a kid in my home kitchen, recipe confirmed by Isabel in a cell phone call to Grandma, and the recipe mom taught me for the crust, written by me in a notebook with pink flowers I bought when I was first away from home and cooking on my own, we listen to music.

I wonder what to play, scoot through the playlist on my itunes, stop at John Denver, we listen to it, my daughter noticing me singing along and looking wistful, maybe, asks me about the music, I tell her it was from when I was a little girl, one of the only records we had and an old favorite. She wonders who I listened to the music with, I tell her my sister and my mom, she wonders about my dad, no, the music came after he had died, but it reminds me of him.

Isabel says at some point shortly after, “I like music that makes you feel.”

I agree, and Isabel adds, “Some music makes you feel sad and some makes you feel happy, but both kinds of music make you feel like other people understand.” She said it even better than that, but in spite of my strong wish, I did not have a tape recorder to preserve her eight year old voice and words and person. Some days I wish I did.

We talk some more about the kind of music we like, other kinds we don’t, which Isabel imitates, that go, “Blah, Blam, Bahh” or some rowdy, head banging version of that. Her brother is nearby juggling, asks if his sister listens to the words, or just the beat, as he believes is true for me, the lyrically challenged, the words are part of the beat for me, he thinks, knows, I think, but doesn’t say, his sister is a dancer, feels the music in her body, not just in her heart, all through.

After berries and crust, Isabel washes dishes, happier for the task when I remind her that is what I did when making pie as a little girl with grandma and great-grandma, I wipe the counters, put things away, fold laundry, sweep the house, getting ready for my leaving. John Denver is over, John Prine takes his place, just by the good fortune of the first names being alphabetical, but the flow works, more down home music while we work and the pie bakes, filling the house with the good feeling before I have to go.

Pie for breakfast or after work treat today, out of the oven too late for dessert last night, bedtime story instead, read with my daughter in turns, late night.

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