Happy ValenPie!

- by Michael!

Joanie and I haven't seen much of each other lately.

On the weekends, she's been in Lancaster, PA for rehearsals for an upcoming production of Hansel & Gretel; during the weeks, our work schedules often miss one another. In fact, last week we missed each other entirely: she left town Saturday morning for PA, I left town Sunday for a week in Chautauqua, I returned Friday night (the 14th) and she left again on Saturday.

That's nine days with very, very little time together.

And with only a couple of hours to see each other on Valentine's Day.

We don't usually pay much attention to this holiday, but this year it fell on the one night when we would actually have time together during a pretty long span. So, since I was going to be in Chautauqua, we decided to celebrate with a taste of what makes summers upstate so very special:

His & Hers
That's right - our own separate ValenPies.

This isn't just any pie. This is from Portage Pies in Westfield, NY, about a 25-minute drive from Chautauqua; in the snow and ice, it was closer to 35 minutes. And it is always, always worth the trip. I don't know what they do to their pies, but these things are just beyond belief. In general, I'm not a fruit-based dessert person - give me chocolate or don't call it dessert - but these things? I can eat one in a sitting.

So these magical pies became our entire Valentine's Day plan. I got the Strawberry Rhubarb pie for me and the Red Raspberry for Joanie, and when she finally made it home on a sleet-drenched Friday evening there it was, waiting for her, along with her loving and recently absent husband.

(Quite naturally, she greeted the pie first.)

And then, after dinner, Joanie and I shared a loving slow-dance to Lionel Ritchie singing "Hello, Is It Me You're Looking For," during which we may or may not have been holding - and gazing lovingly at/crooning gently to - the raspberry pie.

Ah, romance! Because real love - it's weird, folks. It's weird, but comfortable being weird together, and then sharing that weirdness with the world, because what the world needs now is love. Weird love. But love, all the same.