Monica’s Pies

Nonficiton from Karen Lee Hones

So many trees. Coming from parched California, I am always amazed at the lush greenery of the Rochester area. I love the frequent rains. On this Autumn day, though, it’s not raining. The pale light gives the rich colors of the falling leaves a surprise elegance.

The ride isn’t hilly but the landscape is rolling, voluptuous, feminine. We pass through Victor where Marge and I have recently been shopping for furniture. Marge is mulling over a loveseat we saw in a consignment store that would fit well in Mother’s study.

Although I notice a Wendy’s or an Office Depot here and there along the route, the little towns we pass through have an intimate, particular character—so different from the iconic skyline of home, but charming and calming.

When I see the sign for Naples, I say oh, hey, Marge, are we going to Monica’s Pies? And she says yep. Her good friend, Leslie, a teacher at the high school, works part-time at Monica’s. I adore Leslie. She singlehandedly catered my mother’s 95th birthday party. My sibs still talk about the pulled pork sliders, and luscious cupcakes—not to mention her sangfroid in the kitchen, serving over a hundred of us—family and random close friends from all over.

Marge pulls into the space in front of Monica’s Pies. I say Mother, do you want to get out and stretch your legs.

I think I’ll stay in the car, she says.


To read this entire story, pick up Issue Five of Bluff & Vine at Longs’ Cards and Books in Penn Yan, or by visiting

Bluff & Vine is accepting submissions of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and cover art until September 15, 2022. Details available at

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