As they entered Mabel’s, Mae’s voice was carrying from the back of the long diner, singing a song about apple blossoms. Carol looked around hurriedly at the faces of the other diners in their booths, hoping not to find the expected smirks. She was relieved to see grins and happy faces, listening to her mother’s pitch perfect song rise from the high-backed booth at the end of the restaurant. She and Lorena followed the singing and found Zep sitting with his hands around a cup of coffee, facing Mae across the table, eyes closed in a serene pose. As Mae’s song hit its last note, he sprang to life, clapping heartily, joining others who were putting their hands together all over the diner.

Their waitress stopped at the table. She was in her sixties at least, pulling a pencil out of her ash gray hair. “Well, that was different. Can’t say Mabel’s has had entertainment in all the years I’ve been here!”

Carol looked at her and mouthed “sorry.”

Mae held out her hand in greeting. “It’s so nice to meet you. Do you have pie crust?”

The woman skipped a beat before she recovered. “I have crust and filling to go with it. You want dessert first?”

Mae smiled widely. “Apples please. And tea with the bag.”






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