It was a cold, gloomy Saturday morning and a friend and I were headed to an auction somewhere that I have long since forgotten. We were headed south on U.S. Highway 13 and drove into Strawberry Point, IA. As we came into town, we soon noticed that it was city wide clean up days, when unwanted items are set by the side of the road to be picked up and hauled off to be destroyed. We were chatting along when out of the corner of my eye I spotted a pie safe on the side of the road. It was painted white with punched tin sides laying on the ground. For a second, I wondered to myself if my eyes were playing tricks on me. Mid-sentence I interrupted my friend and said, “Turn around there is a pie safe back there on the side of the road.”
She quickly replied with, “A pie safe! No way, no one would throw a pie safe away.”
“It’s a pie safe, quick turn around,” I screamed.
Inside I feared that someone would snatch it up before we could get back. Looking back on it, I am pretty sure we were the only people driving through town at the time. So, right there is the middle of the four-way stop in the shadow of the World’s Famous Giant Strawberry she did an illegal U-turn. We headed back north and pulled over on the side of the road. Sure enough there it was- a pie safe laying on the side of the road. It had been misting most of the morning, as we stood there on the side of the road it started to rain and rain hard. We looked it over and saw that it was in pieces and needed to be loved again. A million thoughts were going through my head. “Will it fit in her SUV?” “What if she wants it?” “Where am I going to put it in my house?” “Will I ever be able to get it put back together?” When behind us came a voice, “You can have it if you want it.”
It was the owner of the house with his head sticking out the door not wanting to get wet in the rain. We asked him if it was a pie safe, which we knew that it was. He said that it was all there, it was just in pieces and needed to be put back together. By this time, he had walked out of the house and was standing next to us on the side of the road. My friend asked me if I thought it would fit in her SUV. I told her we would make it fit and if it didn’t we would tie it to the top. I am pretty sure she thought I was nuts by now. She said, “If we take it how are we ever going to haul everything we get at the auction?”
I told her, “We can get someone to haul our stuff home from the auction.” As I knew we were meeting some friends there.
“If we don’t take it with us now, it will be gone by the time we get back after the auction.” Inside my heart was starting to break at the thought of driving away and leaving it behind. The kind gentleman that it belonged to offered to move it and keep it for us until we came back. I said, “Let’s just see if it fits first.”
We opened up the back of her new SUV, laid down the seats and the kind man said, “Oh yeah, it should fit in there.” My heart lept with joy! So, we picked it up, it was covered in drops of mud from sitting in the rain overnight, with a little pushing and pulling, it fit!!! Miraculously, the back door even shut. I offered to pay him some money for it and he kindly declined. He said, “No, you girls just enjoy it. It is a great piece.” I shook his hand and thanked him. I think he could tell how happy it made me that day so long ago.
We hopped back in the car and my friend and I looked at each other, both wet from the rain with mud on our hands. She said, “I can’t believe that just happened! That never happens!”
“It did today,” I said.
We headed back South, and we quickly realized that we were going to be late for the auction. When we arrived, we met up with our friends that had already arrived. They said that they were starting to get worried about us because we were running late. My friend turned to me and said, “Lisa found a pie safe on the side of the road and we had to stop and pick it up.” Both of our friends’ eyes got big and they said “What?!? You found a pie safe?”
“Yep, just laying on the side of the road in Strawberry Point. It’s in the car, so if we buy anything today you have to haul it home for us,” I explained.
They gave each other a glance, as if they didn’t believe us. So, after the auction, we walked back to her SUV and opened up the back. They both looked inside to check it out.
When we got back to my house that day, we unloaded it in the garage and for a couple of years it sat there waiting to be put back together. When it came time for me to move in with my husband Matt, he asked me if I wanted to move it. I told him that I did. I think he thought I was a little nuts too. So, we loaded it up and moved it into our storage building.
One day, I came home from work and Matt said that he knew someone that could put that old pie safe back together again for me. We talked about it a little awhile and he picked up the phone to give him a call. He said that he could do the best he could and to bring it over sometime. The next day, we loaded it up again and drove over to his woodworking workshop. I told him the story and he looked it over. He said that a couple of pieces were missing but that he could build new pieces and he would do the best he could to make it look primitive to match the rest of the piece. We told him to get to it whenever he could. A couple days later he called and said, “Tell Lisa, I got her cupboard done. “