I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter that Bona School was sometimes used for social events and sometimes for a fund raising “pie supper.” I suspect that it has been a good number of years since the last pie supper was held anywhere.
A pie supper was actually an auction with the proceeds going to the school fund. When one was scheduled, all the ladies and girls in the community would bake their favorite pie. They would then put the pie in a box and decorate the box with fancy crepe paper, ribbons, and bows. The idea was that when the pies were auctioned the bidder would not know whose pie it was or what kind it was. After the auction was over, the successful bidders would sit down and eat the pie with whoever it turned out had baked it.
Maintaining secrecy resulted in some spirited maneuvering. The girls would often trade pie boxes before carrying them to the school or else would cover them with a newspaper or a grocery sack. In turn us boys had a regular spy network to attempt to determine in advance which pie box belonged to whom.
The whole thing would get complicated since boys and young adult males wanted to bid on their girlfriends’ pie since they were going to eat with the baker. Conversely, they did not want anyone else to know. (I suspect that, in some cases, the girls simply told in advance but not usually as that would take all the fun out of it.) A couple of years I had a pretty good crush on Betty King Lindley and wanted her pie. She was best friends with my cousin Mary Catherine, and I figured they would carry each other’s boxes so I bid on the one Mary Catherine had carried in. I was right. I ate pie with Betty King.
Another time I decided that I wanted to buy the pie of cute little Betty Lou Long (she was pretty as a spotted pup) but she was two grades behind me in school and I did not want anyone to know that I was sort of sweet on a girl that young. I got a peek at the box Betty Lou’s mother carried in and bought it. Of course I pretended to be very surprised when it turned out to be Betty Lou’s pie.
As you might well imagine from my comment about his nature, Richard one time came up with a scheme to make a little money on the side at a pie supper. Got him in trouble, too. He was in cahoots with our first cousin James Lowell Tygart. The two of them volunteered to direct traffic in the schoolyard where folks would park their Model T’s, wagon, or buggy as the case might be. The idea was that they would get a peek at the boxes, figure out who was carrying whose pie, then they would sell that information for a dime to the fellow that wanted a particular pie.
It worked out pretty well at first. By the time the auction had started they had collected maybe a dollar between them. It was afterward that they got their comeuppance. Jaycee Lindley, who had already graduated from Dadeville High and was full grown, wanted his sweetheart’s pie but she coyly would not tell him what the box looked like. Jaycee paid Richard to tell him which box it was and old Dick solemnly assured him what it looked like. Well, Jaycee bought the wrong box and wound up eating pie with the widow, Bertha Beck, who lived across the road from us south of Bona.
Jaycee was mad, of course, because he had wasted a dime on Richard’s information. He was a good sport about eating with Bertha (she made great apple pie) but afterwards he cornered Richard out by the coal shed, demanded his dime back, and was going to beat the tar out of Richard. I did not think that was quite a fair fight so, when I didn’t see James Lowell making any effort to help Richard, I sort of dived at Jaycee from behind and knocked his legs out from under him just as he was reaching for my brother. Before Jaycee could get to his feet we had disappeared into the darkness. Jaycee was pretty big and I was glad that he was not one to hold a grudge—he just laughed about it later.