“I hear them clapping in the oven.”
I know. This line never made sense to me either. But it is crucial to the game pies.
What’s that?
You never heard of the game pies?
Well, don’t feel bad. Neither did anyone else at Sanitary Bakery in Nanticoke Tuesday morning. And neither did anyone else I ran into throughout the day.
I was shocked.
I hadn’t thought of the game in years, but the sight of all the pies at the bakery conjured up the childhood memory.
When I mentioned it, however, no one had any idea what I was talking about.
So I explained it.
First, you need a handful of kids. Six or more is best. One is selected to be the baker and one the customer. The rest are pies.
Each pie picks what kind of pie he or she will be: apple, blueberry, pumpkin, peach. This is whispered to the baker but not the customer. The customer must not know. Hint: it is better to pick a more unusual pie, like strawberry-rhubarb or key lime. But you cannot pick something ridiculous, like raisin-grasshopper, for example. That’s bad form.
Now you are ready to play.
The pies gather in a little group behind the baker. The customer, who has been standing off to the side, approaches the baker and asks, “Do you have any pies?”
“No, sorry,” the baker answers.
With that, all the pies start clapping.
“I hear them clapping in the oven,” the customer says. (Why the customer says this, specifically, I haven’t a clue, but it’s the way the game is played.)
The baker then apologizes to the customer and asks, “What kind of pie would you like?”
This is when the tension builds.
The customer starts naming kinds of pies. “Do you have any apple? Any chocolate cream? Any lemon meringue?”
If the customer guesses the kind of pie you are, you start to run and the customer chases you. If you get caught, then the customer becomes the baker, the baker becomes a pie and you become the customer.
Fun, right?
Well, we thought it was fun. For 15 or 20 minutes anyway.
My Aunt Dorothy taught us that game. She also taught us How Many Steps before the Queen. I liked pies better.

Ed Ackerman