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Fire and Rain

Dateline Quemado NM

Wednesday December 5th 2012

My wife was shopping at the hardware store in “Quemado” (which actually means burned) for plumbing supplies to hang curtains today!  As she was about to pick up her pipe and leave, the clerk alerted her to the fact that the place was on fire. Rain walked out back, on the deck a pile of trash was burning “climbing the wall and licking at the roof’”. She asked the young man to get a hose, to which he replied he did not have one! (at the hardware store).  So taking charge as Rain is known to do she quickly grabbed a snow shovel , yes a snow shovel and scraped the fire off of the porch while instructing the hardware man to get water, which he did and quickly put out the fire encroaching onto the roof. The state Police arrived, shortly there after the Quemado Fire Department finished the job.

My hero, returned to Pie Town with melted sneakers, smelling of smoke and without swiss cheese.  Oh well a town is saved from its namesake and yes we have no Rubens today.

This is a small window into life in Catron County NM

I love  Rain
Michael

Rain

Rain is here in Pie Town

Magical Rain

Soft and sweet nourishing

Bringing life to this long dry spell

The colors are more vivid

The air even sweeter

Rain is a blessing to me

and I just wanted to give thanks

Thoughts on a Great Mothers Day

On May 13th we had a Mothers day Brunch at the cafe. I decided to serve among the burgers, chicken wraps and ham and eggs, a roast turkey dinner with all the trimmings, reminiscent of the old Sunday Dinner I served years ago. The response was great, I saw lots of old friends and made some new ones, thank you so much!

Having said that,the real thoughts on Mothers Day go to my Mom. My Mom is one of the best cooks I know. On the home page you will find an page on Alfred  and Marie, my great grand parents, my Moms grandparents. My Mom is Marie as well and as I said one of the best cooks have ever known. She has also been my best friend and most ardent fan through thick and thin.  On goodpie.com you will see a Friday Night Dinner page. Marie and I spend all week planning shopping and preparing for our 3 hour dinner from 5 until 8 pm. I get to stand in the kitchen with her and put made from scratch, steaks seafood and home made dishes and vegetables that are designed using what we know”The Mirassou Way’ . I am so blessed to have this time with her but sometimes catch myself being the boss when I am and always be her student. Everything I do has roots in her teaching from the food to good behavior abd how to just plain live right.

On Mothers day Marie and my step dad Tom  came in dressed beautifully in their ranch wear and sat down to a turkey dinner .I was able to sit with them, talk and laugh and marvel at the beautiful woman who is my Mom. I was full of emotion and asked her how everything was, she replied “you need to serve it with more gravy”  with a big ornery smile.

Thanks

I love you Mom

Cowboy Hanzel and Gretal

This morning the cowboys came in for breakfast and ordered something I had up on my menu board earlier in the week. I call it a Hanzel and Gretal 2 poached eggs with bacon on toast points witha bed of spinach salad.  Well the cowboys reengineered it and call it a Cowboy Hanzel and Gretal. They replaced the spinach with home fries and green chili, I add grilled cayenne pepper shrimp on the side. The fellas filled the big table and were noisy and laughing until the food got there, then it got quiet.I looked and they were all squared away at their plate intentely eating, chilis capturing there attention. I once saw Paul Prudhomme a famous New Orleans chef ( unknowingly one of my mentors in cooking)  talking about watching his customers do the same thing when addressing their meal, he said something to effect that if they did that he had done his job right. How satisfying to have this sort of thing happen here. I love that my menu is mearly a suggestion and my eaters are never afraid to ask for what they want, this is to me is sucess. The job is to make people comfortable and happy then give them good personalized service and food. Lots of people fail at this business that dont get this and make it all about themselves, I have seen just tht happen recently and I wont fall into that trap. I love my job and can work the place 12 hours a day feeding off the good energy of the people Im lucky enough, to come walking through my door.

Thanks for another great day

Michael

Back in Pie Town at the Good Pie Cafe

4:45 am Sitting in the dark with a huge, steaming, heavenly, mug of coffee, the glow of a new day at the windows, I look down the counter of the cafe waking up like Ive done so many times before. But this is different, Ive been away for a year. Last year I leased the cafe to an eager couple. My vary last day in the here was a filming of “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” for my New Mexican Apple Pie. I signed the lease after the shoot and went to Truth or Consequences NM for what I thought was a well deserved rest after ten years of running the cafe. I was a single dad for 5 years and now was witnessing my son go off to college, after graduating with honors.

I was free, I thought! I purchased a tiny home in Tor C and began catching up non sleep and rehabbing the 450 sq ft shotgun shack form the 30′s. T or C has the most incredible hot mineral springs. 100- 110 degrees F, so buoyant with minerals I fell asleep floating in one. I went to the tubs often and began what I had no idea was an inner and outer transformation of my life. I spent the year rebuilding the house and my life, gleaning an understanding of myself and what was important to me.

After about six months I missed the cafe and the people so bad, I had thought I had made the worst mistake of my life leaving the Daily Pie. It had become a defining figure of my life. I had created some of the best relationships there and enjoyed meeting people every day.
Last fall the rumblings of the posibility of the cafe coming back into my hands had begun.

On March 29th 2012 I was handed the keys back to my place, my life and a whole new look at the cafe. Less than one week later after some help cleaning and painting from some of the greatest friends and family a guy could have, we opened as the Good Pie Cafe. A new beginning in the same ol’ place. How lucky can a man get.

April 6th 2012 was REALLY the first day of the rest of my life.

My friends came out with an amazing outpouring of love and support. We stayed open from 8 am to 8 pm that night and had our first Friday Night Dinner.  Over the weekend people would even just stop in to say welcome back on their way up the road.

I am so happy to back here this morning having that quiet coffee and waiting for it to wake me up enough to start making pie and preparing to live out another day of my blessed life.

I love cooking for people and seeing their faces when they see the pie I make and treat as an art form.

Its very nice to belong somewhere in this world and I belong here in Pie Town cooking and enjoying everyday.

There are only a few things missing to make it perfection One is The vacuum Pop Mckee has left behind him  here and the others Im working hard on on everyday.

Michael

December 7th


I waited in line for the boat that was to take me, like all the tourist before,

on the obligatory tour of the the USS Arizona, Pearl Harbor Memorial. The sun

was hot and a bit uncomfortable after the hour in line.  As my turn approached a

white US Navy launch  approached the dock. The officer at the helm and her

sailor deck hand brought it to a perfect landing. They stood at attention as we

boarded, the officer in crisp whites and the deckhand in timeless blue jeans and

chambray shirt. Once loaded the vessel snapped away from the dock in a practiced

professional manuver that impressed this sailor. We headed across the across the

harbor, the breeze a relief to the heat of the afternoon, I thought how

different this ride was as opposed to those who fought for there lives that

Sunday morning. We landed at the USS Arizona Memorial in the same manner that we

were met on the other side, silently disembarking, sailors at attention,

everyone was hushed by the sacred bearing of this place.

I stood above the sunken hull of the USS Arizona, her tower just breaking the

surface of the placid blue water of Pearl Harbor.  The names of the lost sailors

carved in marble, a solemn memorial to those who gave there lives that day. As I

gazed into the water below me, tiny droplets of never to be burned bunker fuel

from Arizona came slowly to the surface. They seemed to me tears of those men,

boys and wounded nation. The droplets appeared in front of me in intervals that

made me think of passing time. My 11 year old stood next to me asking a question

that I couldn’t hear. As I turned to him with eyes filled with tears I prayed

that he would never have to experience anything like this.

On this day we should all remember the lives lost that December 7th, the evil

in the world that still eyes the USA as a target and the mistakes our “leaders”

made to allow something like this to happen. We owe this, at the very least to

to the tears that are appearing right now above that proud ship and her crew and

all who have given there lives for our freedom.

alone in the world

To my son Andy on his high school graduation

If

If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, or being hated, don’t give way to hating, and yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;

If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings and risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, and lose, and start again at your beginnings and never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew to serve your turn long after they are gone, and so hold on when there is nothing in you except the will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, or walk with kings — nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run — yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, and — which is more — you’ll be a Man, my son!

Made in America

This is not my typical post but its been on my mind and I thought id share it .

When you shop its more difficult to buy or even figure out if your purchase in made in America. I Always try to make the right choice of products, but its just hard to all the time. But then this thought came to me. The ingredients for the menu here at the cafe are all either local or products of the USA, so therfore so is our product i made in the USA. American farmers ranchers and dairymen supply us the material for our breakfast lunch and PIE. This makes me proud and very satisfied to put a plate in front of people, it lead to another thought. There was a day when nearly all the stuff we used here was made here. I can remember  time when something made oversees was a curiosity, a rare extravagance.  This was a nation of people who where proud of their work and that attitude carried itself into our way of life. The attitude we gave our children as they grew schooled and became parents. A proud optimistic society Then the corporations decided that the quarterly stock report and the greed for ever increasing bonuses led them to push more and more jobs offshore. The government let this happen and even encouraged it by making unbalanced trade agreements with the generosity  of the corporations lobbyists greasing the way.  It has lead to a fearful pessimistic tone in the collective voice of America. A breakdown of families and neighborly behavior. In this little town we retain lots of the old America Im proud and blessed to live here.We have to find our pride again somehow pass it on to our children and begin to refire this country to creating a new era.

Ive been on a mission to find the nay-sayers and change their minds.

This is a piece I wrote for the local paper on how we start this.

Making Choices In The Face Of Change 2/19/2011

By Michael A Rawl

Pie Town New Mexico

www.strawhouse.com

We the people of the United States of America have faced many daunting challenges in our history. Revolution, civil war, world wars against fascist maniacal dictators and the constant struggle for civil rights, these are just some of the most well know challenges we have faced.

As a new colony, we stood against the odds and defeated the most powerful, dominant nation on earth at the time, not once but twice, in the American Revolution and the War of 1812. We said no to a government of over taxation and a repressive system that paid the already rich from the toil of enterprising individuals.

Civil War nearly tore the nation apart, but strength, honor and the courage to fight for the rights of all Americans won out over the desire of an upper class to keep some not equal, but subservient to their needs.

As the technology of the Industrial Revolution came on the scene, America met the challenge with freethinking, inventive, optimists. We led the world in the face of change and became the prevalent force and economy. The people of this nation had faith, stood strong, worked hard and believed in our destiny. We could do anything and did over and over again. In the last century the selfless heroism of free men defeated at great sacrifice, tyrannical leaders who imposed their fascist ideals in a bid to rule all free people. We met the enemy with a grit and determination that has been called “The Greatest Generation”. I have had the privilege of personally knowing some of the quiet heroes of that struggle; we are lucky to still have some of the great people of that time among us. They should be appreciated, as mentors for the challenges we face today.

Reading the news and listening to the chatter that is so prevalent in our society would lead one to believe that we are defeated and face certain decline in the face of burgeoning emerging markets and a rising national debt. If we believe this it will manifest itself and the nation will realize the doom and gloom these pessimistic “naysayers” project on the screen of the future. I see a choice; let this come to fruition or stand like we always have and fight.

How can this be done?

First of all quantum physics suggests that one can create their own destiny.

“I will fail, we are lost, there is no hope” repeated enough times will beget that result. However “We can win, we can do anything we put our minds and backs to, even with our problems we are the strongest, freest nation on earth”, and an optimistic hard working attitude will take us all in that direction.

Here is what I see facing America, we stand on the brink of a new industrial revolution, one that will be fueled by many changes in the way we communicate, power our homes cars and factories, and the way we choose to use our natural resources. Green technology, something we must implement to simply survive and leave a decent planet for our children to live on, will provide more jobs than one could imagine if we simply take our heads out of the sand and face the truth. We need to take the lead using the workforce that has pulled us out of the weeds so many times before. Education is key, creating engineers, technical workers, teachers or tradesmen that will build the new power and transportation infrastructure. These are the things we need to compete in the coming economic boom, that has already begun in some of the emerging markets of the world. It has already begun while we were feeling sorry for ourselves, fighting treasure draining, profit driven wars and bickering over partisan politics. This economic, environmental restructuring, will not even reach its peak over the next several decades, it is now at critical mass. Our gross domestic product or GDP will then begin exponential growth, the amount of debt compared to the GDP will decrease in percentage, changing the dynamic of the whole equation. (It will work like this. Say one has $50K in debt and a $50K salary and suddenly gets a $200K salary, that $50K in debt wouldn’t be the burden it was at that original salary, the debt would be easier to service.) This is what will happen when this boom hits our economy. This doesn’t mean we should ignore responsible spending, just put the money to work in the ways to bring this about.

We have the opportunity to once again lead the world with an optimistic hard working, freethinking people. If left unbridled by the restraints of negative leadership, self-serving politicians and invasive business inhibiting government, we will leave the dooms day predictors standing in our dust cloud, trying to figure out what happened.

We face a battle not with insurmountable problems but with our own perception of the future.

Here is the challenge, get up off the couch and work hard at something, improve oneself with the things needed to take part in this fight. Stop expecting government to be your caretaker and the solution to your problems. If you are able to work and contribute to society, take a deep breath, pull up your pants and simply try. Make self-improvement not self-medication your mantra and have faith. Vote and replace the self-serving political “professionals’ with average working citizens.

I for one will not stand by idly and watch this great republic go down without a good clean fight and I challenge you all to spread the good word and take this brave American stand as we always have. We will prevail.

Thanks for reading and God bless you all

Im proud to be one of you, good American people

Loren Floyd Follett Jr….. 1928-2011

Loren Floyd Follett Jr  of Pie Town NM and The Criswell Ranch NM,  passed away Wednesday February 2nd 2011 in Socorro NM.

Floyd was Born In Rochester NY in 1928. He was a Marine, cowboy and loyal New Mexican. Floyd was my friend since I moved here in 1999. He was fixture at the Daily Pie Cafe over the years, touched the lives of many people and was photographed more than anyone here. With his tall boots, rangy old hat and signature Hog Leg,  a Virginia Dragoon Caliber 44 Magnum revolver holstered on his hip, he drew a lot of friendly, curious attention. Floyd had a way of whispering his way into peoples hearts with his quiet, boyish sense of humor. I cannot tell you how many times total strangers and acquaintances came to me after a chat with him and anonymously bought  his breakfast or lunch or simply wanted to leave him something. Last spring I got a call from a gentleman in Oregon who met Floyd a year earlier, he wanted to inquire of  his well being and provide anything he could if needed. I had many conversations with the old maverick about his hitch in the Marine Corps, once a Marine always a Marine they say, he proved that true. Loren Floyd Follett Jr was a patriot, he loved his country. The Hog Leg he wore, as he reinforced to me many times, was on standby for not only self defense but a cornerstone in freedoms bulwark.  I was proud to call him my friend and will miss his calm nature and feigned irascibility. Rest in Peace Floyd knowing your friends will not forget you.