Tuesday, April 22, 2014


I don’t remember the exact timing of when I consciously decided to start
baking more pie, but it was when I was living in my small midwestern
bungalow, together with a semi blind, almost deaf, but very loyal senior
fox terrier, and a little pug that emitted gas on a consistent basis. The man
who moved there with us on a beautiful spring day had chosen to leave us,
covertly, on a cold, icy winter night.

His departure was so sudden and shocking for me that I walked around for
weeks with my stomach always feeling like it was in my throat.  Instead of
actually lifting my feet to walk, I shuffled, and soon noticed my shoes had
worn down unevenly.


As the days ahead provided sunshine and warmth, I worked intently on my
garden.  Each evening, Martyn came over to see what I had done. Due to
his horticultural degree, he referred to all the plants in Latin, and this
both amused and intrigued me.

“A man that speaks Latin…” I said to the dogs. “Not many of those around.”


As I turned to leave, I thought, “If only you could talk, Barn.”

“Dream deep,” I heard.

It was a firm, but gentle voice, much like Martyn’s. I turned expecting to
see him next to me, but he was hundreds of feet away, close to the house.

As we left the farm property to return to the city, we were both lost in
thought. I was thinking about the gentle old barn, and how nice it would
be to have a flock of sheep and chickens to give it purpose again, and what
I would name the horse.

“The septic tank is about to blow, and the well is suspect,” Martyn said
very pragmatically.

“Hmmm,” I acknowledged politely.

But I knew we were going to live there.


The more I learned about her donkey, though, the more I started to take
notice of donkeys everywhere, in fields, on posters at the feed store, or in
parked trailers at stop signs. A small donkey also began to appear in my
paintings, often just a blurry element in the background, not quite formed.

I came to believe that a donkey should join us. But Martyn had wisely
created the Apifera Animal Acquisition Law: any animal brought onto the
farm must have a real job. He did this for the health of the farm and so we
wouldn’t be on the local news as a sanctuary for mice and roosters or
wounded skunks.


I began to see Pino as a magical ambassador, sharing love and healing
through his mere presence.

Carrying a pie basket in one hand and navigating a 250-pound donkey with
the other can lose its charm fast, especially in the hot summer when the
road dust is blowing and flies are biting. I needed to find a better way to
share my donkey and my pie.

I had no trailer, my car would not pull one, nor was I in a position to buy
a Pino Pie Pulling Truck.