A Thanksgiving Eve Encounter With Dave’s Mom


One of the best holiday traditions on television has been the wildly popular “Guess Mom’s Pies” segment on the Late Show with David Letterman.  The bit simply involved Letterman trying to guess what pies his mother Dorothy cooked for Thanksgiving dinner.  Dorothy was filmed from her kitchen in Indiana or she phoned into the show with the names of the pies.  Web sites are dedicated to this yearly tradition with fans keeping tally of the results over the years.

Last year, there was no “Guess Mom’s Pies” segment leaving thousands hanging and wondering about the well-being of Dave’s mom.

Dave’s mom is also the author of one of the greatest cookbooks of all time, Home Cookin’ With Dave’s Mom.  My mother gifted me this cookbook when I was living out-of-state.  It was such a great reminder of my Indiana roots featuring Hoosier Chili, Beef Tenderloin with Bordelaise Mushroom Sauce, Vegetable Soup and Hot Tuna Sandwiches just to name a few of my favorites from the book.  However, the stars of the show are her famous pie recipes – cherry, sugar cream, chocolate…and they are fabulous.

I happen to live in the same town as Dorothy.  There are few things that brighten my day more than to see her at the grocery store.  She is absolutely adorable.  And, she has many homemaker fans like myself who yearn to stalk exchange a few words with her and peak into her shopping cart to see what she will be cooking.

I was at the grocery store checkout counter with my mother when I experienced my first Dave’s mom sighting.  My mom pointed to Dorothy as she was grabbing a cart.  I immediately abandoned my groceries during mid-checkout without a word to the cashier and began gingerly chasing Dorothy through the veggie section – finally trapping her at the meat counter.

Like an idiot, I addressed her as Dave’s Mom instead of using her proper name and began to ramble on about how I loved her cookbook and how it reminded me of my Hoosier heritage while I was living out-of-state.  God love her, she gave me the biggest smile.  If it were me being accosted by a crazy story-telling stranger, I would have called 911.

Dave’s Mom’s awesome cherry pie.

My most recent encounter was the most exciting.  We spotted her at our favorite breakfast spot the day before Thanksgiving.  I was with my fellow celebrity stalker, my mother, who gave me the nod when Dorothy walked in the restaurant.  We spent the remainder of our breakfast plotting a way to strike up a conversation in a non-predator kind of way.

And then it hit me.  Of course, talk to her about pie.

So I nervously sauntered over to where she was standing and told her that I was cooking her recipe for cherry pie for Thanksgiving.  She commented that she sends a cherry pie to Dave on his birthday.  Not wanting to spoil the surprise for Dave’s audience, I hesitated to ask what pie she was making for Thanksgiving.

Luckily, the lovely young lady accompanying her asked the magic words for me,

“You’re making pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, aren’t you?”

And then she quietly replied, “Yes, I’m making pumpkin.”

I shared my hesitancy about asking the big question and they replied that Dorothy has retired from the “Guess Mom’s Pies” segment of the Late Show.

Now, I think I can retire from celebrity stalkings  encounters.  Nothing can top a personal audience with the star of “Guess Mom’s Pies” on Thanksgiving Eve.

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16 thoughts on “A Thanksgiving Eve Encounter With Dave’s Mom

  1. Cherry Pie is my favourite! I want a piece so bad right now after reading this. Dang, Thanksgiving was already 5 weeks ago in Canada…
    Love this post, just something about the way you write that makes me have a big grin on my face the whole time I read your blog 🙂

  2. Dorothy happened to be our church secretary during the 70’s much before Dave’s fame. She was and is a delightful lady. I lost track of her for many years but about 2007 she and I shared many hours at a Carmel nursing home where I had my Mother and she had her second husband. We shared concerns about the declining health of our loved ones and attended seminar meetings regarding memory loss that the nursing home would hold. We spoke of many things but never mentioning her famous son. I dis see her at church on a visit back to Carmel last year. She was still delightful, but again we only shared niceties. Even though she was now on a walker she seemed to be up on things and still the Lady!

    • Another bit of info I have on Daves Mom came this summer. While on a trip to Sedona, we spent two days visiting the grand canyon. We stayed at the famed old hotel on the rim,El Tovar, and while having dinner in their dining room our rather eccentric waiter told us about having none other than DaveLetterman & his Mom,Dorothy at his table the week before. Apparently he had brought her to visit the Grand Canyon – just the two of them. Perhaps the canyon was on her “bucket list”! David surely loves his Mom! Not sure if pies were involved. (:

      • Alright, you need to be my official celebrity reporter! Too bad you missed seeing her. They seem like they have a great relationship. Several friends have seen him around town and he is always very hospitable.

  3. Cherry pie is my fave!
    Here’s a good one for you–a Carmel connection. My roomie in college was from there, and I used to go home with her for T-giving bc it was too far to go back to Boston for T-giving and then back again a few weeks later for Xmas, and her mom made a gazlillion pies every year and I totally got into it–even though I don’t like pie that much? I know, random. SO I bake a bunch every T-giving but only eat the cherry!

    That’s so awesome you see Dave’s mom out and about. Love her. More than Dave, in fact! LOL.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Thank you, so much, for these insights into Dorothy/Dave’s lives. I’ve often wondered if Dave was really as removed from family, as he makes it seem. ‘Good to know that my favorite TV
    guy has a good relationship with his wonderful mom.

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