My absolute favorite book growing up was Amelia Bedelia. I remember the excitement of signing it out of the school library and pouring over it at home, often.
“Look!” I’d tell anyone I could nab. “Look how she dusts the furniture.”
It was the funniest thing I’d ever read. It didn’t matter that I knew how it was going to end every time, I couldn’t wait to get to the part where Mr. Rogers stuffs a forkful of pie into Mrs. Rogers’ mouth and they discover what a truly marvelous housekeeper she really is.
But she’s a bumbling housekeeper who literally draws the curtains when the sun is hot, and dresses the chicken in a little suit before putting it in the fridge. From the list of instructions given her she misinterprets everything to mean exactly what it says and creates such chaos in the house that the owners are quite upset when they return home.
However, in the midst of her blundering she has baked a lemon meringue pie. And just as Mrs. Rogers is about to fire her, Mr. Rogers pops a piece of pie in her mouth. Not only is all forgiven, but faith in Amelia Bedelia is gloriously restored–that woman could bake a pie! Of course, Mrs. Rogers learns to leave more sensible instructions for Amelia Bedelia. She tells her to ‘un-dust’ the furniture and ‘close’ the drapes instead of ‘draw’ them.
Never mind that she took scissors to their good towels and cut them to shreds. It didn’t matter that she’d dusted the furniture with perfumed talcum powder, or that she’d unscrewed every single light bulb and hung them on the clothesline. She could bake a pie, and that pie was to die for. They couldn’t live without her.
Sometimes I wish I could pull a pie out of the oven and save the day. Okay, it doesn’t even have to be the day–just my tarnished reputation. I’d like to have that one thing only I can do so fantabulously well that people just can’t live without me. Something so great it would eclipse my reckless blundering, faults and failures, and even (gasp) make me endearing to people. When everyone is fuming over my floundering, I want to pull my pie out of the oven and hear them say, “Look, here–she sure can bake a pie!”