The “Pie Ladies” of St. George’s Church
Feasting on homemade pies on Monday afternoons was a church-sponsored tradition for residents of the former Harbor Home, a small state-run facility in York Harbor, Maine. Here, in a quiet two-story brick building little more than a stone’s throw from the Atlantic Ocean, a flurry of anticipation proceeded the weekly arrival of three women from Saint George’s Church affectionately known as the “pie ladies.”
The pie ladies were church volunteers who came to serve pies they made in their own kitchens. On the day I visited them, “pie lady” Rosie Littlefield was the first to arrive. She put two pies baked Sunday afternoon, a chocolate peanut butter pie with a touch of marshmallow and a zesty cranberry pie, on the serving table.
Harriet Smith arrived next, followed closely by Clair Vaghini, each of them with homemade pies popular with the residents. In the early afternoon, the three women moved café tables to the dining area, then carefully arranged pies and dessert china nearby. Harbor Home staff members set up an industrial-sized coffee pot and began to help residents who needed assistance.
As eager pie-eaters filtered into the dining room and decided who to sit next to, and perhaps who to avoid, I realized pie day wasn’t just about eating pie. It was a social event- for the servers as well as for those served. Pie ladies joined raffles, accompanied residents on mental motorcycle rides, and listened to some interesting stories while serving pie. “I especially get a kick out of the woman who eats her pie quickly, “ one pie lady told me, “then hurries back for seconds, asking: ‘May I have a piece of pie for my friend now?’
Homebaked pie is something you can hardly get too much of, but it is certainly worth a try.