Scrappy Summer

Scrappy Summer by Mollie Cox Bryan Page A

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Authors: Mollie Cox Bryan
pie took center stage.
    For DeeAnn, it was a blur from that point on.
     
     
    One week earlier . . .
     
    “I don’t understand it,” Jon said, shrugging. “You used bourbon in your recipe, and
     so you’re banned for life from entering the competition? Preposterous!”
    “I know it,” Beatrice said.
    “What kind of idiotic rule is no booze in baking competitions?” he said.
    “Welcome to the Bible Belt,” Beatrice said. “We drink only behind closed doors.”
    “I just don’t understand,” Jon said. “We drink wine our whole lives.”
    “I know, but you’re French. And a sinner,” Beatrice said and cackled.
    “Mmm. But I love to sin,” he said and leaned over to kiss her.
    The morning was the kind that made Beatrice glad to be alive. She and Jon sat on her
     back porch, ate breakfast, and took in the view of their new swimming pool, which
     they had used almost every day since it was built. What a chore getting it built had
     been, especially after the contractors kept finding things in their backyard. Things
     of historical significance, like a trunk full of Civil War objects, including a lovely
     old scrapbook that had once belonged to one of the founding families of Cumberland
     Creek.
    “Ah, well, I’ve lived without being in the darned contest for a few years now. I guess
     I can carry on. It’s always a Mennonite that wins now. I swear, they are the best
     bakers on the planet,” Beatrice said and took a bite of her cinnamon scone—one of
     her favorite breakfast foods. Everybody should have a little cinnamon in their lives.
    “You won each time you entered, of course. Your pie is divine,” Jon said and sipped
     his coffee loudly. It was one of those habits Bea found hard to live with at times,
     that loud slurping noise. But most of the time she shrugged it off—the benefits of
     having a man around, especially Jon, far outweighed the annoyances. Most of the time.
    They had been together for almost a year, after meeting in Paris and having an affair.
     Beatrice had thought they had a fling with no future, given that he lived in Paris
     and she in Cumberland Creek, Virginia, in the middle of the Shenandoah Valley. But
     he had surprised her by showing up on her doorstep, and they’d lived together ever
     since. Some residents in Cumberland Creek thought it sinful for them to live together
     without being married, even at their ages. Bea was eighty-three and Jon seventy-one.
     Neither one of them gave it a second thought. In fact, their sinfulness was a running
     joke between them.
    “Of course,” she said. “Now, DeeAnn is another matter.”
    “What do you mean?”
    “It’s the only category she’s allowed to compete in, because she doesn’t bake and
     sell pies at her shop, and she’s never won it,” Beatrice said.
    “Humph. Pie baking is a talent not everybody is gifted with.”
    “Oh, I think she makes a fine pie. It’s more the politics, of course. She’s not from
     around here, you know. She’s only lived here thirty years or so.” She laughed. “In
     any case, Vera said she’s obsessed about it.”
    Jon laughed. “DeeAnn? Obsessed?”
    Beatrice nodded and sat back in her old wicker chair, watched as the hummingbirds
     came in to the feeder.
    “You’re not obsessed, are you?” Jon poked at her.
    “I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed. But I do have a plan to get back at those uptight pie
     judges.”
    A devilish grin spread across her face.
     
     
    This year DeeAnn was indeed obsessed about winning the local county fair’s pie competition.
     Since she did not qualify for other baked goods, because of her bakery—it placed her
     out because of her professional status in those categories—she obsessed about pie.
     Heck, her pie was as good as those fancy-assed bakers’ at Pamela’s Pie Palace any
     day. If she’d had the idea first, DeeAnn could have opened a pie shop instead of a
     bakery. If there was one thing she knew, it was pie.
    Of course, why would she

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