A Cross-Shaped Pie

God blessed Fallowfield United Methodist Church with another successful fair week. Thank you for your prayers! We made roughly 1,875 pies, including those we froze earlier in the month.

Fair week is always exciting, tiring, and rewarding. I’ve been involved with our fair’s pie project for 30 years. But this year I saw something I’ve never seen before.

Since pie filling often boils over the tops of crusts while baking, we identify our pies with a letter code. A pie covered in red pie filling might be strawberry-rhubarb. Or is it cherry? To simplify things, the ladies who roll crust cut a letter into the top of each two-crust pie. They mark elderberry pies with a capital E. [See photo page 24]

My mom was the chairman of the 6 a.m. bake on August 23. While checking the pies to make sure they were fully baked, she saw something extraordinary. On the top of one pie, elderberry juice had seeped out in the exact shape of a cross. Here’s what happened: elderberry juice leaked horizontally across center line of the capital E. The vertical line of the E and the horizontal juice line formed a perfect cross. Elderberry juice is purple, which struck me as symbolic of Jesus’ royalty. How cool is that? A project totally dedicated to Christ produced a cross-shaped pie.

As always, we at Fallowfield didn’t do this project alone. Friends from Trinity United Methodist, Faith United Methodist, Calvary United Methodist, Adamsville United Presbyterian, Linesville Baptist, and Greenville Alliance Church helped us out. Friends and loved ones from the Atlantic community and from as far away as Chambersburg and Wilmington, North Carolina, dropped by the church to roll crust and stir fruit filling.

I worked the closing shift at our fair booth on Saturday, the 27th, with a former church member who now lives in North Carolina. God always inspires people lend a hand with this project, and I can’t exaggerate how much that means to all of us at Fallowfield.

I want to send out a big thank you to all the members and moms from the Make, Bake, and Create 4-H group who worked at pie bakes. These girls and their moms really pitched in. They made fruit pie filling, measured Crisco for crust, dotted pies with butter, and fluted crust. They use our church basement for their meetings, and wanted to thank us in a tangible way. They were a big help and we sure do appreciate them.

Even though the Crawford County Fair is over, we’ve got another fair to enjoy this week. The Jamestown Fair starts Tuesday around 6 p.m. and runs through Saturday night. I love this fair. It’s cozy and just a ten-minute drive from Atlantic.

I like to take my time walking through the agricultural, baking, canning, and sewing displays. It’s exciting to see my friends’ and neighbors’ pumpkins, apple pies, pickles, and quilts, especially when they win ribbons.

This year’s fair will be a little bittersweet for me when I peruse the quilting display. One entrant will be conspicuously absent.

Barb Saulsbery passed away in May. I always scanned the racks for Barb’s quilts at the Jamestown Fair, and she almost always won a ribbon. Many times they were blue, and I know she won best of show multiple times.

I’m happy to report, though, that beginning in 2017, one talented person has the chance to win the Barbara Saulsbery Memorial 4-Star Homemaker Award.

I spoke with Barb’s long-time friend, Sharon Shrock, about the 4-Star Homemaker Award. “It was something that was near and dear to her heart,” Sharon said. Sharon and Barb worked together at the fair for about 30 years. Barb and Sharon talked about starting a 4-star homemaker award when they judged canned goods and baked goods together. They co-chaired the canned goods and baked goods department for 10 years. This would’ve been Barb and Sharon’s third year co-chairing needle skills.

Barb taught a quilting group at Adamsville Presbyterian Church for many years. Group members collected a large amount of money in Barb’s name to start a four-star homemaker award in her memory

Barb’s quilting group got the idea for a 4-star homemaker award from the Crawford County Fair, but they’ve fine tuned their rules to meet Jamestown Fair’s needs. The 2017 Barbara Saulsbery 4-Star Homemaker Award winner will have to enter needlework, such as counted cross-stitch, knitting, crocheting, and quilting. They will also need to enter homemade clothes, canned goods and baked goods. They can submit up to three items in each category.

Because scoring is done by points, it’s best to enter as many items as possible. The winner is determined by who has highest points. Blue ribbons earn 20 points, red earn 15, and white earn 10. Exhibitors must make and enter items in four divisions and win a premium in each of the four categories.

Make plans to stop by the needle skills department and look for a rocking chair. Barb knit an afghan and planned on entering it in the fair this year. Barb’s friends plan on draping it and an unfinished quilt across the rocker and placing her knitting basket on the seat. They will also display her picture, a tribute written by Sharon Shrock, and a snapshot taken at a previous year’s fair. So many people loved Barb. I’m thankful they are honoring her in this way, but I’m gonna need a tissue when I see that chair.

Have a wonderful week. Blessings!