Funeral Feast Pie
Slice after slice goes into the mouths of the mourners. It is as
though they cannot get enough of something that reassures their
living state, and pie is as good as anything else empirical or
The long Sunday School table set up in the parish hall is dressed
with a paper tablecloth all in white, like a bride. The whiteness is
adorned with colors of lush fruit baked in crusts: double-crust
apple, Dutch apple, deep-dish apple, sinful blackberry; rhubarb of
pale scarlet and green like the colors of a bishop's robe in a
medieval painting on wood; sour-cream raisin, with its plumped fruit
set into custard as exquisitely as amber in yellow putti.
The servers cut into a pie brought fresh from a farm kitchen, and
its soul—a wisp of peaches and spices and flour—rises
heavenward, at least as far as the parish hall ceiling, and the
mourners move forward to witness this little ascension.
The Origins of Masonite
Some say it is invoked, not manufactured, from an anti-papist
conspiracy hatched within a fir forest, but its surface flatly
denies theory. Nonetheless: hold it above your head as you
nail it to the ceiling and you are swearing an oath to the
appearance of uniformity.
You can paint it, spackle it, glue glitter on its compliant surface
until you would swear the night sky was a big sheet of Masonite
tacked onto the ends of the earth and bent almost until it broke,
stars spilling like sawdust onto your head.