It’s all set now
Wednesday January 17th 2024, 9:42 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Life

Tart cherries out of the freezer, pie into the oven, dinner on the table, good times.

We were waiting for it to finish baking. Then he told me a story that, if he told me forty years ago well it’s new all over again to me now because I sure didn’t remember it.

I had made some reference to the Hostess Fruit Pies of our youth: they sold them in the vending machines in the dorms but I couldn’t afford them on my budget, and they were always, always sold out anyway. I managed to snag one twice my entire freshman year–but that’s okay, since they didn’t have more than about a single actual cherry apiece in them. (My mother was a master of pie baking and those were always such a disappointment.)

He looked at me funny. They had cherries!

Was he sure?

He was.

Did he have a lot more of them than I had to make that observation by?

So that’s when he told me.

He was a teaching assistant in the computer science lab and people were constantly coming to him for help. He told me, The problem is people think computers are, are, magic! It’s ‘the computer’s not working,’ not, I told it something wrong.

GIGO! I said. I remembered that phrase! Been a long time since I’d heard it, though: Garbage In Garbage Out re computer commands.

So he would ask them, Tell me what it’s not doing for you. Then when they explained, without even going and looking he’d tell them, I bet you a cherry pie that the problem is in the…

He told me, They’d have like a typo in their code that they were sure they didn’t have; it’s easy to do, you just have to find it. Or something like that. Once they had to explain what the problem was he knew they could find it, they just needed to know they *could* find it. His job was to help them learn that, not do it for them.

And he gave them a little extra incentive to want to. Plus he got a hand pie out of it.

I could just picture some poor sod hitting every vending machine on campus looking for a danged cherry Hostess.

He told me, I never–not once–lost that bet.

Then he mentioned an old friend of ours at the next grad school who said to him one day, Every time you come in here and we talk I always, always find the bug. You never tell me what it is. You never go looking for it. But after you leave I always find it. How do you do that?!

The answer was, (You find the confidence and then) You think it through. That’s how.

And with that, we decided not to wait till our Definitely Not Hostess tart cherry pie had set, much less cooled down. Straight out of the oven. A little whipped cream for a little cooling and we dove in while it was still, frankly, a bit soupy.

We figured out we wanted it right now enough not to let that bug us.

4 Comments so far
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Well, of course you had to dig in after that story! How funny that he worked the pie thing into questions.

I vaguely remember the Hostess pies, but the ones I remember more were at McDonald’s. We stopped there as a treat on trips, and I loved those cherry pies!

Comment by ccr in MA 01.18.24 @ 6:52 am

My grandmother bought them at the day-old bakery and kept them in the bottom drawer freezer, so you had to wait for them to thaw. Way before microwave, or wasting the oven to warm a little pie. Your hot pie sounds delicious, and you have more today!

Comment by DebbieR 01.18.24 @ 8:10 am

Why wait indeed? It was the icing on the cake. Wait… No. You were having pie.

Well, you know what I mean! 🙂

What a talent to be able to lead people to discoveries! Better to teach a man to fish than give him a fish – so true.

Comment by Suzanne 01.18.24 @ 8:29 am

Ah, yes. Running a data center in 1969-1971. Teaching keypunching, how to use a card sorter AND – how to proof your punch cards. Hint – lots of lines not in order or para’ns not closed…

Comment by Holly 01.18.24 @ 2:53 pm

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