Hamburger Onion Pie

“Hey!  Who ate the last piece of hamburger onion pie?” Shannon shouted into the bowels of the refrigerator. She turned, slamming the refrigerator door, and bumped into Damon, who was holding the metal pie plate in his right hand. It was dotted with crumbs and held a fork and a crumpled ball of plastic wrap.

“Da-amon.  You said I could have the last piece.”

Damon burped deliberately, and then grinned.

“You stupid jerk!”  Shannon shoved against him.

He laughed.  “Better luck next time, shrimp.  And remember it’s your turn to do the dishes.”  He clunked the pie plate into the sink, and left the room smiling.

“Oh, and what am I supposed to have for lunch, you big . . . big . . . moron?”

“Look around, maybe you’ll find something,” he called from the stairs.

Shannon flopped at the kitchen table.  Stupid, stupid Damon.  He knew she wanted that pie.  She put her head down on the glass top, and forced out the tears that had gathered in her eyes.  They plopped onto the table making three tiny round puddles.  She ran her finger through them, drawing with the wetness on the glass, crookedly because her head was sideways on the table.

“You ok down there?”

“Yeah, fine.”  Shannon got up quickly and wiped her finger on her jeans. Stupid Damon.  She wasn’t hungry anymore, but she opened cupboards, pretending to look for lunch.  The ones over the sink didn’t have anything interesting.  Then, for no reason, she checked the microwave.

It wasn’t empty.

On a plate on the merry-go-round was the slice of pie, still cold.

“I hate you, I hate you, I hate you!”  She banged the microwave door.  It bounced back, scratching her forehead.

“Stupid Damon.” Now Shannon was crying for real.

*if you’re interested, the recipe for Hamburger Onion Pie can be found in the More with Less Cookbook (along with a host of other favorite recipes from my youth and good advice on eating responsibly in an increasingly crowded world) .


Becca propped her elbows in the top rack of the dishwasher, fitting them neatly between the green plastic spikes. She twirled a spatula with her fingertips. “This will be my magical royal scepter, and you can be my maid-in-waiting.”

“OK,” I said, nudging her aside to put two Tupperware tumblers in the spots where her elbows had been. Milk dripped out of them onto the dishwasher door. “And you’re stuck in the kitchen because your mean Aunt Matilda doesn’t like you, so you have to do all the work, and I’m here because I don’t want you to have to do everything,”

“Yeah,” Becca said, twirling in the middle of the kitchen floor and waving the spatula with her left hand. “My name will be Amethyst, and you are Rose.”

“Sure.” I shoved the top shelf back into the dishwasher and clattered dinner plates into the bottom. “Abby’s plate is over by the stove. Could you scrape it off and bring it here?”

“But that would get Amethyst’s finger’s dirty,” Becca said, twirling a bit wobbily.

“Oh. I forgot.” I went to the stove and got the extra dinner plate.

Becca twirled the other direction.

As I loaded the plate into the dishwasher she tumbled to the floor laughing.

“The scepter has to go in the dishwasher,” I said.

She laughed harder.

I took the spatula from her, dropped it in the machine, and got the thing started. Then I helped Becca off the floor and dusted her off.

“I’ll wash the extras,” I said.

“OK.” Becca got out a towel and leaned against the counter, watching me fill the sink with bubbly water.

“I think,” she said, after a little bit of watching me scour the chicken pan, “that we should escape tonight. You could convince your friend the woodcutter to help . . .”

Her words melted in with the splashing of the dishwater, and she augmented her points by flicking the towel back and forth.

I rinsed the last baking pan, watching the water swish to one end and then lurch back, spilling out onto my blue jeans. Then I stacked it precariously on the edge of an already full strainer to drain.

Becca unsettled everything pulling out a cookie sheet that was pretty much dry already, but nothing fell.

I wiped the counters while she rubbed the towel over it absentmindedly. “We start with the plan as soon as you finish vacuuming the floor,” she said.

I took the cookie sheet from her and put it away under the stove before getting out the vacuum cleaner.

Becca let out the dishwater and watched it gurgle down the drain. She collected a few of the leftover soap bubbles in her hands and blew them toward the window.

They stuck like little tufts of cotton.

Mama came in as I finished vacuuming. “Wow, finished already?” she said. “See how fast things go when you work together?”

Your Will–Not Mine, Lord (trying my hand at a song)

Try to raise my kids to love the Lord

Try to teach my kids to do their chores

To become loving, respectful, powerful, wise, adults.


They argue, I plead.

They whine, I yell.

How can they be what I am not?

Can’t change them.

Can’t even change myself.


I want to do Your will.

In Your Power.

For Your Glory.


Help me get myself out of the way.


Your Will

Your Power

Your Glory

Not mine, Lord


Your Will

Your Power

Your Glory

Not mine, Lord


Your Will

Your Power

Your Glory


Forever & ever Amen.