By Ashli Sims, The News On 6
CLEVELAND, OK -- A Pawnee County community is wrapping its arms around a woman who has served up a lot of love over the years.
She's known for her pie prowess, but now she's the one who needs a slice of good will.
Edna Wood is as much of a fixture at Hickory House as the country cooking. She has been chopping up cole slaw and whipping up pies here for almost 20 years.
Owner Pat Bartlett says she is as reliable as her pies are tasty.
"Faithful every day, rain or snow, it doesn't matter," Bartlett said. "She's a good, hard worker."
Maybe it's only fitting that Wood was serving comfort food when she needed some comforting of her own.
"I was working and my daughter called me from home ... and she said my house exploded," she said.
In a matter of minutes, Wood's home of 30 years burned to the ground, taking with it two of her most prized possessions -- her dogs.
"That's all I wanted, was for my dogs to be out," she said.
The 80-year-old great-great-grandmother has nothing but the clothes on her back.
"Eighty years of accumulation ... I had a whole lot of memories," she said.
In the face of such loss, Wood went back to the only home she had left, bright and early to pour her heart into a pie crust.
"She said, ‘I'll be to work in the morning,' and I said, ‘Edna, you don't have to,'" Bartlett said. "‘Yes, I want to go to work and get my mind off things.' And there she was, 4 o'clock this morning."
Customers who are more like family offered her words of comfort and a little something to get by.
She says the Bartletts have been a blessing and with their help she won't let the ashes get the better of her.
"I'll make it, me and the good Lord, we'll make it," Wood said. "And as long as I got friends like them, I am not alone."
The Cleveland Fire Department is looking into what caused the fire. Officials believe it might have started because of hot tar work on her roof.
Wood did not have any insurance.