Making new memories

This has been a summer of memories for me.  My high school class held a long overdue reunion in June.  We didn’t track everyone down, but we tried.  The 35 or so of us who attended had a great time.  At one point, I just sat back and watched everyone hugging, talking, laughing, and sharing 40+ year old memories.

Harris High School Class of 1976


I don’t have the “official” photo yet, but the Ex-Ex took this one.  (Sorry for chopping you in two, Bobby!)  What a crew.  What fun.  What great new memories we made at Blind Squirrel Lodge and Brewery in Plumtree, NC.  Thank you, Edie and Will, for the great food, beer, cider, accommodations, and ambiance.  I now want to get together with this group every year and I will still keep searching for classmates.  We’ve already lost 11 of our classmates, one just a couple of weeks ago.  Life is short, mes amis.

I had the chance to talk to Middle School Boyfriend (I have blogged about him before although he doesn’t know it– at least not as I write this.  Should I let him in on the secret?).  I told the Ex-Ex that I had to have a photo to show the middle school girlies next year.  I have not always been so old, you know, kiddos.


I went zip-lining with some friends.  Yes, I did.


And I got a chance to really catch up with my across-the-creek neighbor and freshman year in college roommate.


The two friends I spent the most time with in high school attended.  We did a lot of things together way back when and even took driver’s ed class together– and survived!

reunion laughing

That’s us in the middle of the front row- BH, FB and TB, me, in the flowered skirt.  I love this photo because so many people are smiling and laughing.

The Ex-Ex also had his class reunion.  I had only met a couple of his classmates before, but I already felt as if I knew several of them from the stories that have been told over the years.  He went to high school near the coast, I am from the mountains.  We met in Durham, in the middle.

Here’s his crew.  The three ladies in the middle are the teachers who attended.

Aurora High School Class of 1976


And these characters?  Even the 90 year old Mrs. Long (in blue above) remembered their names.  I told them I cannot imagine having them in class in 7th grade.


William, in the hat, has the same last name as me.  We decided we are long lost cousins.  We’re people.

The Ex-Ex got props for vividly remembering the sordid details of losing a play-off football game in 1974 based on yardage since the score was tied.  Back in the day, they hadn’t come up with a different way to break a tie, I guess.

Some of his teammates-


I had fun just sitting back and watching there, too.  Watching and listening to the laughter.

We are lucky that we have these memories and these friends.  Sometimes it just doesn’t matter if you haven’t seen someone in 20, 30 or even 40 years.  You still know each other. Personalities do not change.  Hair color and waistlines, yes, but who cares?  Those are minor details in the scheme of things.

I hope to make more memories with these old and new friends.

Edie, at Blind Squirrel, is an excellent baker and possibly the nicest human being on the planet.  She was always smiling, even at almost midnight as a few of us were still sipping beer and swapping stories.


Will, her husband, cooked amazing breakfasts for us during our stay.  The buffet dinner for our reunion meal was outstanding.  The Po’boy Trout Sandwich that I had for lunch after zip-lining was excellent.  I asked Edie for a recipe and she said she gets the most requests for her Vinegar Pie.  It is a recipe passed down from her grandmother.  My own beloved Grandma Bell was a first class pie lover. Whenever we took her out to lunch in downtown Spruce Pine, her first question walking in the door was “Do you have pie today?”  If there was no pie on the menu, lunch was a disappointment from the get-go.  She was a pie connoisseur. To the best of my knowledge, though, I have never had vinegar pie.  I needed to know a little bit more because, to tell the truth, vinegar pie sounded a bit strange.  And this is from a girl whose mama was raised on a farm with a very frugal Granny who could make anything from scratch and memory. Seems that vinegar pie is about as old as our country and falls into the category of “desperation pies.”  Make do or do without.  The pioneer spirit. Lemons would have been the preferred fruit for this pie, but those were not readily available in the 1800’s to folks out on the prairie, up in the mountains, or out on the farm, needless to say. Apple cider vinegar was, however, so it was used to give the pie acidity and to fool the tastebuds.  I found several variations on Edie’s grandma’s recipe, some with maple flavoring, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon extract, or brown sugar.  Most add about 2-3 tablespoons of flour and boil to make a custard before filling the shell and baking.  Some use quite a bit less sugar. Even Martha Stewart is in on the action.  This version is very sweet.  Grandma Bell would have approved.

slice2 of vpie

Edie’s Vinegar Pie

makes two 9-inch pies

Your favorite pie crust recipe (or store bought if you wish)- Edie uses Never Fail Amish Crust recipe (recipe follows)

4-1/2 cups white sugar

10 whole eggs

1 stick butter, melted

6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 325˚F.
  2. Lightly spray the bottom of two 9-inch pie plates with non-stick spray and lay out your crusts; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all other ingredients; mix until well-blended.
  4. Pour into prepared crusts and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until crust has formed and is lightly golden.
  5. Cool completely and chill before serving.

Amish Never Fail Pie Crust

makes two 9-inch crusts

4 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1-1/2 Crisco

1 tablespoon vinegar

1/2 cup water

  1. Blend flour, sugar and salt in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Cut in Crisco to pea-sized pieces.
  3. Mix together egg, water, and vinegar.  Add to flour.  Mix until moistened and a soft dough forms.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling.

This dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week and will be easy to roll.

inside pie

Blind Squirrel is located on the banks of the North Toe River in Avery County, North Carolina, in a little bend in the road. Very spotty cell phone service and internet, fishermen standing out in the river at any given time, hummingbirds checking out the feeders and butterflies flitting around all of the flowers.  There are five rooms in the Lodge and cabins and camping sites about a mile away where the zip-lining happens.  Winter People, a movie starring Kelly McGillis and Kurt Russell, based on a novel by John Ehle, was filmed next door to Blind Squirrel and released in 1989.

Bon appétit, friends.  Here’s to making more memories! Merci, Edie.  I look forward to my next visit.  Maybe I can come help you bake next summer.  As I have said many times, I can even clean toilets in French, too, and have B&B experience!

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