Mrs. Bush's Pie Co. ­ a labor of love

by Don Brickner

Staff Writer

 

Coming out of anyone else's mouth, Marilyn Bush's praise for her own work ­ her baked goods ­ might sound like idle boasting.

But when you watch the owner/operator of Mrs. Bush's Pie Co. on FM 306 in Canyon Lake in action, particularly when dealing with her often adoring customers, Bush's megawatt schtick is not a boast at all ­ no one seems to take it that way, either ­ but rather lively Texas in-your-face banter, and feisty charm.

Most of Bush's customers are mature women on this day, and if they've never met her previously, they're crazy about her almost instantly. Bush clearly is a woman's woman.

"What are ya'll, sisters?" Bush asks two senior ladies as she reaches for one of her just-cooked pies to show to them.

Both women respond exactly the same, and simultaneously: "Ya-a," they gush, beaming.

"You are, really?" Bush grins back. Then she holds up The Pie. "What do you think? Isn't that nice? Awesome, awesome, awesome."

"I don't think I could improve on that," admits one of the sisters, blinking.

"Oh, dear justice, you're going to love it!" Bush assures them. The pie is then bought, and because both sisters are eager to sample a piece, Bush carves them slices on separate plates. By the time the slices have been consumed, the sisters are ­ no kidding ­ licking their plates.

One sister then tells the observer taking notes, "Tell everybody that it's the best pies in Texas," she insists.

"I love you for that," Bush tells the woman appreciatively. "And I love the shirt."

The sister with the shirt blushes. And for the better part of the next half hour, the front door to Bush's business is opening and closing, opening and closing ­ mostly by regular customers, who are openly delighted to be a part of the exchange of money for Bush's baked goods.

"I'm building an empire," Bush states flatly, adding a huge smile. On her wall hang postcards from customers who tell her they can't wait to get back, to sample more of her baked items. One Houston couple who own a home at Mystic Shores dropped her a card from Rome, Italy. They signed it, "See ya soon, Jerry & Rebecca. P.S. - Missing the turnovers."

Born and raised in Houston, Bush says her parents used to bring her on camping trips to Canyon Lake, and she fell in love with the place almost instantly.

"I always knew I was going to live here," Bush says. "I wish I had been born here. I didn't want to turn 40 in Houston, feeling stuck there my entire life. My spirit feels good here. I just love it."

Her pie store has been up and operating ­ and doing very well ­ for a year and a half, she says. Prior to that, she "started out in wholesale" by baking and delivering banana muffins in the area.

"I rented a kitchen, and slowly incorporated Texas-size cookies ­ bigger-than-your-face cookies," Bush says. "Then it was like, boom, boom ­ here I was, opening up my own store in Canyon Lake."

Bush adds that she regularly gives community donations freely whenever she's asked. "I give not the minimum amount but three times the minimum amount," she says. "Success isn't complete unless you've given back to the community. I'm a big believer in the law of success."

Her regular stock, baked at her business, includes "dry" pies (deep-dish apple, cherry, peach, blackberry, etc.), cream pies (coconut cream, French silk, key lime, banana, etc.), sourdough sandwiches (ham and provolone; turkey and swiss, ham and swiss), cakes (chocolate, vanilla, pumpkin spice, pineapple upside-down, etc.), gigantic ice cream sandwiches (homemade chocolate chip with vanilla ice cream), equally large cookies, and soft drinks.

"It's good to see you again, Mrs. Bush," says one man, leaving the store with a freshly-baked (and still steaming) pie in hand.

"That's so hot, sweetheart," Bush calls out. "Will you please be careful?"

The customer nods, yes, and he's out the door.

And so goes the lunch hour at Mrs. Bush's Pie Company.

Located at 14325 FM 306 a few miles west of the FM 2637 intersection, Bush can be reached by calling (830) 226-5160. And, yes ­ she says she does special orders.

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