• Suzette Smith
  • Hello little girl twisting and shrieking, "Is it time for pie?!" What pie did you make?

I went to the Fifth Annual Portland Pie Off on Sunday and I didn't get any pie. But before we completely dissolve into a pity party for me (thanks guys!), I must point out that Sarah Mirk showed up nearly an hour after I did and still got plenty of pie. One of the defining characteristics of my personality is that I don't like to push. I don't even like standing near other people. I'm going to be a great reporter.

When I arrived at Laurelhurst Park on that brilliant Sunday afternoon with my rosemary-crust pizza pie in my bike basket (idyllic!), I skirted several free-love organic weddings, persons in Shakespearean theater garb, and hopeful-eyed family reunions (I am NOT Gertrude. When will you accept that Gertrude isn't coming anymore?). I felt extremely drawn to the group of badminton players on a hill who were sporting large chalkboards which only read "NO!" in all caps. That sounded like my kind of event. But how to explain the pie? Who carries pie around? I saw another sign reading "PIE," and figured I ought to see this thing through.

It was very pleasant right from the start, because no one seemed to want to sit in the sun. A lovely old man and I shared a picnic table all to our lonesome within a crowd of people in wide-brimmed hats laid out on blankets in patterns exactly replicating the shadows of our friendly trees. I added my pie to the savory pie table and enlisted a child to help me spell "zucchini." He was such a good speller!

I arrived just as the judging began. The two Persons In Charge sported entirely white outfits and madly marched around on tables to let the crowd know what could be expected. There was judging, then the mad rush for pie, the touching of the pie with hands, the laying upon of pie scraps with hands (this was Sarah's portion of the event), then the voting for the People's Choice Pie. I didn't win (pity party!) but I did meet the other pizza pie makers and we had a nice conversation about science fiction.

The people that I spoke to drooped their faces at my total lack of pie-eating at the pie competition, so I began to invent a second fictional pie that I had wisely created and left at home to be enjoyed by me and my housemates later that evening. This story sated them but I still felt terrible about lying. It was a great idea and definitely something I'll do next year. Next year, everyone, it's one person, one pie. For your hungry (but wonderful-at-spelling) children who can eat the length of a grown man in pie, I would encourage you to bring a corresponding amount of pie. The Annual Portland Pie Off is a great opportunity to teach the pie facts of life to the next generation.