Jump to content
SASS Wire Forum

For Cactus Jack ~ "Half-Breed Pete and the Rhubarb Pie"

Recommended Posts

Here ya go, @Cactus Jack Calder!  :)

(And yes, this is a true and factual account of the incident)  ^_^




Hardpan Curmudgeon


     One springtime many years ago, Hank and I decided we were long overdue for a visit to our ol’ pard, Half Breed Pete.  So, after a warning phone call, we packed up our toys and toothbrushes and hit the road for the drive from Pacifica to San Luis Obispo.


     Several hours later, we found ourselves at Pete’s girlfriend’s house in Los Osos.  We’d never met Chris before, but to our absolute delight she turned out to be a great cook, and was just plumb tickled at the opportunity of puttin’ on a spread for her beau’s buddies.


     And that’s where the troubles started.


     After we stuffed ourselves silly we retired to the “sittin’ room” to visit, relive some memorable adventures, and have dessert.  Hot, blue-ribbon quality, Strawberry Rhubarb Pie.  Served up with a scoop of homemade ice cream and hot coffee!


     Just the memory makes my nostrils flare and mouth water.  But it also sends shivers up my spine.


     Chris cleared the wreckage of dinner and dessert, and excused herself, sayin’ that she had a test the next day and needed to get to bed early.  With that, she left us to our own devices - something she would have NEVER done had she known us better.  Especially Hank.


     Well, with our bellies full but our minds still sharp, we soon realized that we needed some post-meal libations.  Oddly enough, we discovered in the kitchen all the components necessary to construct multiple batches of strawberry daiquiris.  Not our normal sauce, mind you, but certainly adequate. 


     So there we were, a-drinkin’ daiquiris and visitin’, on into the wee hours, when someone came up with the brilliant observation that re-heated leftover rhubarb pie would go along with them strawberry daiquiris just fine!


     With that, Pete and Hank shambled off to the kitchen with a promise of returning soon with a fresh batch of drinks and that wonderful pie.  And I foolishly let those two go off alone together.


     Then, about eight minutes later, a most amazin’ thing took place. 


     I just happened to look up at the closed folding door that separated me from the kitchen, when suddenly, appearing almost in slow motion, it bulged toward me like a soft spot on an old tire.  Thin sheets of flame licked briefly but frantically through the gap surrounding the door and the seams between the panels.  At the same time, the entire house shook, accompanied by a VERY loud ka-boom-WHUMP!  The windows all rattled (at least one cracked), and several carefully hung pictures crashed to the floor.


     My first thought was, “Oh my GAWD!!  They’ve been playin’ with black powder and have blown themselves to BITS!”


     I struggled to my feet, and stumbled off to the kitchen.


     Now, before I tell you what happened, I have to describe these characters: Hank was the embodiment of Yosemite Sam.  About five-foot eight and built like a fireplug, with flowing mustachios, boots, jeans, vest, and usually a hat.  Looking like the SASS marshal himself. Pete, on the other hand, looked kinda like a six-foot tall Fidel Castro with a broken nose.  (Legend has it that Hank presented him with the beak several years prior in a college football game, but we have yet to see supporting evidence).  Hank was well barbered; Pete had the Fidel whiskers, bushy eyebrows, and not long but shaggy hair.


     It seems that when they went into the kitchen, Pete set about arrangin’ the fixin’s for another batch of daiquiris, while Hank walked over to the stove and twisted the oven knob to 350 degrees.  He then followed Pete around the room, chattering at him while Pete worked on the drinks and gathered up the rhubarb pie.


     After a while, Pete wandered off in the direction of the stove with pie in hand. He set the pie on the counter near the stove, and, while hank rambled, dropped to his knees in front of the stove.  Hank stopped talking, and began to watch intently, wonderin’ just what the heck Pete was a-doin’ on the floor.


     Suddenly, Pete yanked open the oven door, pulled a large Blue Diamond ‘Strike Anywhere’ from somewhere behind his whiskers, and sez “Hank, did ya light this yet?”


     Well, Hank hadn’t.  All he had done was turn the thing up to 350 degrees, or at least opened a gas supply capable of fueling the oven to that temperature.


      “Uh, nope....” Hank said.  “But what I did do was....”


     And before he could complete the sentence, Pete leaned his whole upper body into the oven (it was quite large), reached all the way into the back, and struck that Strike Anywhere.


     Hank later described what happened next.  When Pete apparently fired up that Blue Diamond, it ignited the gas in a most convincing manner.  Hank said that, again almost like in slow motion, a gigantic ball of blue flame expanded out of the oven like a cartoon balloon, totally engulfing Pete’s entire upper torso, then proceeded outward to expend itself against the far wall and door to the parlor.


     Hank was momentarily too stunned to speak.


     A few seconds later I crashed into the room, and was greeted by a bewildering sight: Pete, on his knees, with his whole upper body in the oven.  Hank standing over him, an astonished expression on his face, sayin’, “Pete.  Pete!  Are ya okay?  Pete, are ya awright?  Pete?  PETE!?”


     I was dumbfounded. 


     I instantly grasped what must have happened, and with dismay I realized that my old pal Pete was dead.


     Done in by a rhubarb pie.


     Then, we saw movement. 


     Pete was alive!


     Standing behind him, I watched with horrified fascination as Pete gradually backed out of the oven.  Sagging to his haunches, he slowly turned toward us.


     What I saw next almost defies description.


     Pete, crouched on the kitchen floor, with an incredibly altered countenance. 


     His eyebrows were all but gone.


     His eyelashes were curled to a fair-thee-well that could never be achieved by any of the fairer sex.


     His hairline was severely receded, with the hair remaining on the front half of his head standing straight up.  He’d not need a barber for months.


     His beard, that wonderful, full, Paul Bunyan-proud shrub, was reduced to little more than a Van Dyke.


     His forehead and cheeks glowed darkly with a thin sheen of soot.


     And he was smoking! 


     Thick tendrils wafted up from his chin past his temples, reminiscent of a picture I had once seen of Blackbeard the Pirate, he with smoldering matches stuffed in his ears.


     Pete turned his face.  With an expression that at the same time displayed pain, bewilderment, and humiliation, he looked up at Hank.


      “Oh, DAMN, Hank!”                                 


     And that’s all he said.


     Hearing that, and seeing that scolded pup look on a head that could only be duplicated by Warner Bros, I lost it.


     I couldn’t help myself, and the guffaws burst forth.


     With the tension broken, Hank immediately joined in, and we soon had tears the size of road apples rolling down our cheeks.


     Pete, looking more hurt and insulted than before, shuffled to the table, sat down, and sulked.


     Neither Hank nor I could talk.  Any attempts to get words out past our laughter just caused us to choke.


     Spotting a hanging mirror that had miraculously survived the explosion, I pulled it from its nail and propped it on the table in front of Pete.


      “Pete!  Ya GOTTA look!” I gasped.


     After a moment, he stole a peek at the mirror, then looked away. Then another quick glance.  Eventually, he stared at the still-smoking apparition lookin’ back at him.


     The corners of his mouth started to twitch.


     They curled slightly.


     And finally, despite the pain, they formed a smile accompanied by a low chuckle.


     Then all hell broke loose!


     Chris, awakened by the blast and beginning to comprehend, boiled out of her room armed with a short piece of two-by-four, which she hurled at Hank, narrowly missing his head.  She shrieked “Blankety Blank It, Hank! That’s my Boy-Friend that got blowed up, and IT AIN’T FUNNY!”


     She gave Pete a sorrowful and sympathetic come-hither look, and returned to her boudoir.


      “Uh, fellas....” Pete said.


      “Yeah, we know” I responded.  “We’ll find our way over to your place and sleep.  You just stay here and let Chris nurse ya back to health.”


     With that, Hank and I grabbed our sleeping bags and ventured forth into the night.


     And we never did get our rhubarb pie.



 Chris’s Rhubarb-Strawberry Pie


Pie crust for double crust pie

2 cups rhubarb, diced

2 cups strawberries, cut up

1 ¼ cups sugar

¼ tsp salt

¼ cup tapioca

2 tsp butter


Put the bottom pie crust in a 10 in pie pan.

Mix up the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, tapioca, and salt

Scrape it into crust, then dot it with butter.

Pinch on the top crust,

poke a few steam holes and bake at 425 degrees for about 10 - 15 minutes, then back off to 375 for the next half hour or so or until crust is golden.


Serve with vanilla ice cream or strawberry daiquiris.  Use extreme

caution if served with daiquiris.


Deep-Dish Pie


Pie crust for double crust pie +

3 cups rhubarb, diced

3 cups strawberries, cut up

1 7/8 cups sugar (Just under 2 cups)

3/8 tsp salt

1/3 cup tapioca

3 tsp butter



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Too many things left unresolved here!!


Did Pete’s hair grow back?


Did Chris and Pete marry?


If so, are they still married?


Did Chris ever forgive Hank?


Does Chris find it funny, now that years have passed??


Do any of you still drink strawberry Daiquiris??


Inquiring minds want to know!!  :lol: :lol::lol: 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Blackwater 53393 said:


Too many things left unresolved here!!


Inquiring minds want to know!!  :lol: :lol: 



Okay, BW, answers below.  :)


By the way... it was over twenty years before I could face another rhubarb pie.  But now they're Sassparilla Kid's favorite.  ^_^


Did Pete’s hair grow back?

It did!  Actually, he always was a hairy booger!  :lol:      image.thumb.jpeg.9c89e3ec2eb9d16997a1c0dd0bd2f834.jpeg


Did Chris and Pete marry?


They did, just not each other.  Ultimately, I did facilitate a "reunion" of sorts with them.  Pete had been living in Arizona with a "significant other" for many years.  Sadly, that gal passed on Halloween of 2020.  I'd heard that Chris was unattached at that time, made some calls, and they did have a reunion of sorts that lasted a couple of years.  :rolleyes:  


If so, are they still married?  


See above.  Chris lives in Utah; Pete is near the california central coast.  They exchange text messages on occasion.


Did Chris ever forgive Hank?


She did!  Hank and I found our way to Pete's abode; that in itself was an adventure.  We followed his directions to literally the end of a road, crossed a footbridge over a raging stream in flood stage, through an ancient graveyard, and finally found his house - with a placard on the door declaring it "Condemned" almost twenty years earlier.  Yikes!


Anyway, Pete and Chris showed up the next morning bearing sacks of groceries.  Chris felt so bad that she decided to skip her class and prepare us a grand and muchly appreciated breakfast.  ^_^


Does Chris find it funny, now that years have passed?


She does.  I actually spoke with Chris just this morning; she asked me to send her more stories.


Do any of you still drink strawberry Daquiris?


Strawberry... no.  Uh uh.  Ain't gonna happen.  However, another frat brother and I once devoted an entire summer to researching and developing the perfect daquiri.  And we were successful!  


The winner...?  Peach!  :lol:


This one was the winner based on a number of factors, including ease of preparation:


• Dump a half-dozen or so canned "peach halves in heavy syrup" into a blender.

• Fill with ice.

• Pour in a bunch of the "heavy syrup*."  

• Add as much rum as ya like.

• Kersplash in a fair amount of orange liqueur; this can be Triple Sec, Cointreau, Grand Marnier, or whatever.

• Whip it up to a slurpee consistency, serve and enjoy.  Mebbe float a mint leaf on top.

*A classic daquiri recipe calls for simple syrup; the peach syrup from the can is a perfect, flavored substitute and contributes to the ease of prep.


Be advised - these are sneaky drinks.  Very refreshing on a hot day and go down easy.  People have been known to disappear after a few....  B)

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Many thanks for the post. I copy things from many sources that I find interesting. This will join the collection.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been there done that!  In my 8th grade general shop class there was a row of benches in the front of the shop.  Next to the benches was a kitchen stove that was used to anneal ash trays made out of aluminum sheet.  Ball peen hammers were used to shape the project.  Once shaped each ash tray was placed on a stove burner with sawdust used to indicate when annealing was complete.  If you were finished with your project for the day you were to site on the benches.  One day I was sitting on the benches.  A fellow student started to anneal his ash tray while I was sitting.  Somehow the oven gas valve had been turned on & the oven's pilot wasn't lit.  Eventually the natural gas cloud reached the burner flame.  The explosion tweaked the oven door, enveloped me in a fire ball, scorched my hair & removed my eyebrows.  If that had happened today the middle school administration, school nurse, city police & fire would have gotten involved.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tried reading this to Mrs. J-Bar.  It took a while, with frequent pauses to wipe tears of laughter.


Damn you Hardpan!

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.