What would you expect to learn about the world and yourself if you gave away a pie every day for a year? It's not a question I gave much thought to a year ago when I began to do just that.
My goal was to express gratitude to the people around me; the people without whom my life or the lives of my family and friends would certainly have been different. How was I to know then where this journey would take me?
Over the past year, I have visited with the parents of newborn babies and also with spouses who have lost the love of their lives. I have reconnected with old friends and met new ones along the way.
Ashland-resident Karen Amarotico will deliver her 365th pie today, reaching her goal to show her gratitude every day for a year by giving someone — a bank teller, barista, cashier, coach, cookbook author — a home-baked quiche, cobbler or other kind of pie. She sent her special thanks to people who work for the Maslow Project, the Schneider Museum of Art and service clubs. She delivered a pie to politicians, pastors and other public figures, as well as teachers, a man recovering from a stroke and the driver of a car who knocked her off her bike.
I have given pies to complete strangers and to neighbors on my block. In all of that time, only one pie was dropped and only one pie was declined.
Many of the people who received pies were dealing with life's challenges. While I know that a pie can't fix anything, it can show people that I have been thinking about them, that they are important to me and that they are not alone.
Often I wondered what I would say when I greeted the recipients, knowing that they were in physical or emotional pain. The great news is that most people don't expect you to have the answers; they are just happy to know that you care.
It has been amazing to find that the simple gesture of giving a pie can be so appreciated. At times, I am the one who was overcome with gratitude by giving thanks or recognition to another.
It occurs to me that perhaps we don't express our thanks or our love often enough. I imagine that the world would be a much better place if we could share our love or gratitude more readily.
Karen Amarotico is an Ashland caterer whose blog http://pieadaygiveaway.com chronicles her year of expressing gratitude.