Day 1: Nine Days Of Pie, 11-1-2017

The Nine Days Of Pie is always a great unknown, an unknown of pie and and unknown of people.

Even beyond that, this year is a whole new adventure for us, the Nine Days Of Pie has always been held in the warmth and comfort of our home, and there definitely is a security in that, but this year we have thrown ourselves out into the world. This year, every event of the Nine Days Of Pie – 13 in all -each takes place in a different location!

As the schedule lists ( each event is in a different location in the Portland area. There are several reasons for the change, but mainly it is because of the discord in America right now, if ever we needed to find common ground over something as comforting as pie, now is the time. Last year, the Nine Days Of Pie took a sad and strange turn after election night, and in the year since a divide has truly crippled our melting pot nation.

This first night, was held at the world famous Voodoo Doughnuts (Voodoo Doughnut II) where the amazing folks there fell in love with the idea of the Nine Days Of Pie and offered to create a special pie doughnut for it! We were in awe of this offer, and then about a week before our event began they told us they would offer the doughnut on all 9 days of the Nine Days Of Pie!!! This is such an honor for us, and a very welcoming gesture on their part. They call the special Nine Days Of Pie doughnut “Pie Worship” and it is very apt!

We arrived at Voodoo Doughnut II, and were relieved that there was not a line around the block, as there often is. They had a big booth reserved for us, and we opened up one of the giant boxes of doughnuts. A friend was already there so seeing a friendly face was a big relief, and the amazing staff told doughnut seekers all night that the crazy people over at the booth had a free “Pie Worship”  doughnut for them and an event going on about pie and community. The staff at Voodoo Doughnut is incredible!

A while later I noticed a young woman sitting across the way, but she was not enjoying doughnuts, nor was she smiling as every other person entering this famed doughnut shop was. She was on the phone, and she broke into tears several times. I motioned to Shane, and he jumped into action, he grabbed a ““Pie Worship” Doughnut (Did I mention, they are sweet potato filled with maple icing, a wavy pie crust design along the top and three marshmallows on top?) and brought it to her with a Nine Days Of Pie flyer, then he bought her a coffee. She said thank you, and we left her alone to deal with whatever was going wrong in her life at the moment.

People came up to us to hear more, families, couples from out of town, a coach on his way to meet, and many more, all were excited to get a free doughnut, but even more, they were surprised to hear about what we were were doing and the purpose of our actions. 

One young woman came in for a doughnut and the staff sent her over to us, she sat down to talk. She told us she’d gone out this night specifically to meet people. She moved to Portland a few months earlier because she heard Portland was accepting of weird people, and she was the weirdest person in her town. She’d come from Flint Michigan with $20 in her pocket, she’d spent a month homeless but now had a place and a job. She told us she is 20 years old and wants to be an artist. Gabrielle was her name, and she was the highlight of our night, she embodied everything the Nine Days Of Pie is about, people coming together and sharing a moment of togetherness as human beings. It’s a fight against the isolation many of us face in our daily lives.

A  couple came in for doughnuts and chatted with us for a bit, and in a moment of perfect irony, when they turned to leave Shane saw the back patch on the fellow’s jacket was the same art Voodoo Doughnut had used for their “Pie Worship” doughnut poster!!! Shane quickly got a photo! Nine Days Of Pie magic!

As our event reached into the final hour another friendly face came rushing in the door, Alanna. Alanna has a special distinction related to the Nine Days Of Pie, she came from Portland to our home for the even some years back on a first date with a young man named Michael. I remember saying to her then that was a heck of a first date, to which she responded that yes a first date traveling two hours to Astoria to have pie at the home of people she only knew faintly on Facebook was a good test. Apparently, Michael passed the test because the two are now married!!! (Note* Nine Days Of Pie as place of love). This was the perfect wrap-up for our event.

I’d made some blueberry hand pies which we’d kept in the car, so we loaded Alanna up with a “Pie Worship” doughnut for Michael and hand pies for the two of them, then we gave a pair of hand pies to each of the amazing staff. We’d given away nearly 3 dozen “Pie Worship” doughnuts, and talked to quite a few new people, hopefully we will see at least some of them again during this holiday! Then, we headed off into the night with giant sugar smiles on our faces!


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