Southern Living, Part 3: Lemon Cream Pie and Gossip Hour On The Front Porch

My accidental “series” on life in the south and my obsessive love of small town America culminates in this light-hearted re-cap of my time with my step grandma earlier this week.

Walsie is a character, for sure. I love going to see her because she makes me laugh, she doesn’t sugar coat her opinions (which I have come to find refreshing), she’s fun to be around and she has a lot of wisdom to share.

Walsie lives in a spacious one-bedroom apartment in Florence, Alabama. It’s close to “The” Big Star where she can get most of her groceries, but she has to go to “The” Walmart to get some of the other things she needs most of the time. Her apartment complex is a community of residents, age 65 and older. Everybody knows everybody, and they’re always visiting each other.

I’ve learned from all my years visiting Walsie, at her apartment and at my pappaw’s house while he was alive, that not having a pie in the refrigerator at all times, is not done. You never know when someone might stop by for a visit, and you always want to have something to serve them.

I’ve been baking a lot of pies recently. It’s mostly a mechanism, really. I’m a stress baker.


This time, my visit was very short because, as you may have read, I just recently got a reliable car, and didn’t have a lot of time to squeeze in a visit before now, between work and school (starting soon).

So, I left for Alabama after work on Monday and stayed until about 2PM on Wednesday. That drive gets so boring if you don’t have good music to listen to, which I did, but this time I didn’t really mind the drive because it’s the longest I’ve been behind the wheel in 2 months.

I like driving through small towns. I take back roads up to Rome, through Fort Payne and Scottsboro and then I catch Highway 72 and take it through Huntsville. I get to see lots more trees that way.

I left around 2 PM on Monday afternoon, and got to Walsies around 7:30. It rained on the way, which slowed me down. When I got there, she was waiting for me, excited we’d get to spend some time together. I made myself a sandwich for dinner (pimiento cheese) with a pickle spear and a slice of lemon cream pie for dessert.

She always gets it because she 1) knows it’s my favorite 2)even though she knows I’m not supposed to do sugar 3) but it’s ok because we both know that I don’t while I’m in GA. Only in Alabama, with my extended family, because it’s rare enough and that makes it taste even better. 🙂

And that brings me to my favorite part of visits with Walsie. Since most of the residents in her complex are around her age and life stage, Walsie gets to do a lot of talking with her friends. It’s one of my favorite rituals of hers, one that I’ve been privileged enough to witness twice.

I call it “Gossip Hour On The Front Porch With Walsie and Nadine.”

Yes. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Walsie and her next-door neighbor, Nadine, congregate on Nadine’s front porch (because she has a porch swing), occasionally joined by a few other ladies of the complex, to eat pie together (lemon cream this time) and talk about all the residents in the complex. This week’s topic of discussion was the lady who lives next-door to Nadine, on the other side. I learned that she wears bright red lipstick EVERY DAY ( I did not realize that was not OK), bright red heels and she always has a man over at her apartment.

It is both hugely inappropriate and wildly entertaining.

I could probably do without the gossip part, but I cannot WAIT to make it into the 65+ apartment society, and have my own apartment with a front porch swing and plenty of pie in the fridge. I’ll even send out invitations, so I’ll be sure to have people dropping by to have some pie.

True story.



  1. Laura

    Chess. It’s my favorite, so don’t forget it! Oh, I do forget that when you’re 65 I will be very old and may not even have teeth to eat my favorite pie! LOL! Love you and enjoy reading your blog!!

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