Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pie, American Gothic Style: My Latest House Guest Writes About Her Stay

I don't normally do this, re-post someone else's blog, but this story by Christine Buckley still resonates with me. Christine was my latest house guest at the American Gothic House and she wrote about her pie baking experience here. In her piece, she truly captured the essence of pie and how it heals, something I am still attempting, after hundreds of my own blog posts, to articulate. She's on a cross-country, soul-searching road trip, and Eldon, Iowa was just another stop along her planned three-month journey. I like to think it will be her most memorable one.
Christine and her Prius, ready to get back on the road.
If you are a Facebook friend of mine (or you "like" The World Needs More Pie page on FB), then you've already seen her story. But I felt it warranted a place here, a little more permanence (if that concept is even possible in the blogosphere), so here it is-- Christine's Seeking Shama blog, where the Pitchfork Pie Stand makes its debut.

Christine is also blogging for the Huffington Post and rumor has it she'll be posting something about the American Gothic House there too. I hope she'll write about our night volunteering for Bingo at the community center and going for milkshakes at the Southside Pharmacy -- and, of course, more about pie. We shall see.
Christine's new blog design was created while she was here, upstairs in the American Gothic House. Using Skype to connect screens with webmeister Shanti Sosienski, they used 21st century technology in this 19th century house. Pretty cool!
One last word, then I have to go back to the kitchen and check on my pies in the oven: I highly recommend this road trip, drive-to-self-discovery kind of travel to anyone as you never know what road sign will lead you to a new and surprising destiny. Um, Crater Lake. American Gothic House. Just saying. I hope Christine will find what she's looking for out there on the road. Or, better yet, it will find her. Either way, it's sure to be -- and already has been -- an exciting adventure.

The American Gothic Hotel is now taking reservations for the next house guests.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Day the MINI Coopers Came to Town

Just another day at the American Gothic House.
When you live in the American Gothic House you never know who -- or what -- is going to turn up on your doorstep. Case in point: yesterday, a group of 15 MINI Coopers, driving in two groups from Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, converged in Eldon, Iowa. Looking like escapees from "The Italian Job," first they assembled in the American Gothic House Center's parking lot. They seemed to know the drill. They backed into the parking spaces, bumpers perfectly lined up, and out came the cameras.
But that was just Phase I. Phase II included lining up the cars in front of the American Gothic House -- er, my house -- for the "real" shoot. They even brought a ladder to get better shots.
Here they come.
Forget the pitchfork and costumes and usual parodies. These cutie pies need no adornment.
Not sure what my neighbor would say if she saw the cars on the lawn. Good thing she's gone until spring!
Roger and Me. Roger Sitterly of Des Moines organized the day's outing. Besides pre-ordering the pies, he had trivia questions for the MINI drivers to answer and prizes to hand out.
But the drive/photo shoot was really just an excuse. They came for pie. But they had to wait.
At last, the paparazzi cleared (at least that's what it felt like), and I opened the doors to the Pitchfork Pie Stand -- a.k.a. my living room -- and cut into an apple pie. Mmmm, still warm. As you may be able to see in the background (below), the crowd was still snapping photos inside the house. They even took a picture of my brand new oven as if, by virtue of simply being in the kitchen of the American Gothic House, it was a celebrity!

I may have missed out on the group road trip, but my own MINI Cooper was given center stage in the photo shoot. Always one to stand out from the crowd, mine was the only one with a bike rack on the roof. As for my Oregon plates, I wasn't the only one from out of state. There was another MINI from Virginia, en route to Wisconsin, by way of Iowa. Ending up at the American Gothic House was just another roadside attraction for him. But for me, every day here is a great adventure. Who knows who -- or what -- will turn up next on my doorstep. I can't wait to find out.
Cute cars, cute house. Life is good.
Links to more pictures and stories from the day:
MINIs of Eastern Iowa: "A MINI Event as Sweet as Apple Pie"
Eldon MINI Pie Fest
"Pie Lady" photos by Dean
American Gothich House Center Newsletter