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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Remember When .... Apple Orchard Outing

Remember When

As a child growing up in northern Wisconsin, October held many memories.
Our annual trip to the Apple Orchard is one of my favorites.
 Our family always went to the orchard on Sunday after morning Mass.
The orchards were packed with neighbors seeking out the best deals.
The drive to the orchard meant riding in the backseat
with four other siblings
all pushing and shoving for the window seats. 
After a few choice words from the front seat, 
we would settle in for the 10 mile ride, 
but not without a few more silent elbow jabs
for good measure.

Corn binders cleared the once luscious green corn fields, 
leaving rows of corn bundles
glowing golden yellow against the barren brown stubble.
  Some years, the warm rays of the sun, 
would make the "frosty" corn bundles 
glisten like glass crystal towers.

Passing miles of maple and oak hardwood trees,
bright yellow, burnt orange, blazing red leaves, 
we would all ooh and aah,
just like we did during the July 4th fireworks display.

 Life was simple then, nature was our entertainment.

Finally, the apple trees came into sight. 
Dark shiny green leaves were dotted with bold red balls,
some are yellow and green
 red is my favorite.
 Excitement filled us as
dad pull's into the dirt drive that leads to the apple barns. 
The long apple barns were always red and white in color,
such a pretty setting for the colorful apples and pumpkins.
  Apples were everywhere, bushels, pecks, paper sacks full of
Granny Smiths, Red Delicious, 
McIntosh and Fancy Reds.

 Pumpkins too...

 Large Jack O Lantern pumpkins 
 and deep orange pie pumpkins
lined up to form pathways.
 We ran to find the largest pumpkin from the patch. 
What a sight it was, 
enormously huge, perched high on straw bales, 
patiently  waiting for us to climb up and say
 The lucky person who guessed how much it weighed,
was awarded a bushel of juicy ripe apples.

                                         Jugs of apple cider filled tables,
                                         we all got a sample in a paper cup. 
                                         I never liked the sour drink but always took it
                                         "cause it was free".
What I really wanted - drooled over - and silently begged for
was a sweet rich brown "caramel apple". 

I knew better than to ask for one,
"too expensive" to purchase for all of us kids.
  I promised myself
one day I would have that caramel apple.
Today I dip a sliced apple into melted caramel.
 Good  stuff.

After sampling all the apples we finally made our purchase. 
It was the same every year,
Granny Smiths for pie, 
#2 windfalls for sauce and Red Delicious for eating,
 Jack O Lantern for us kids
 pie pumpkins for Mom.
 The trunk was full.

The backseat is silent now, 
three sleepy kids no longer fighting for the window seat,
just using each others laps as pillows. 
Mom is rocking baby sis in her arms (no car seats back then)
 Dad slowly navigates the ole Pontiac over the gravel road
that will soon turn into blacktop.
Good bye corn fields,
Good bye cows, strolling single file to the barn for evening milking.

 Sun is setting now,
casting dark shadows over the beautiful leaves,
 somber silence....
I stare out the window reflecting in the quiet of the moment,
that's me, always daydreaming.

I reflect on today's outing  not totally realizing how special it was. 
It will take years before this day becomes a precious memory 
that will warm my heart and soothe my soul.

I am still the Big Sister, also blessed as a Mom and a Grandma.
Twenty, thirty, forty years of memories
brings a smile to my face and a reassurance to my heart that  
Life is Good, and I was Loved. 

Thank you for visiting with me at the Orchard



  1. Loved loved loved this blog as I have tears streaming down my face....thanks for sharing this wonderful memory Mom! I love you!

  2. this is so true to my heart, I'm sitting here crying,this is so speical, I love the picture of Mom and Dad, It brings back so many memories.Is there a way I can get a copy of that picture of Mom and Dad?. Lots of love to you, little sis.

  3. I grew up a short distance from orchards so it was just a every day part of life. Reading your story brings a new life to the orchard to me. What wonderful memories you have to hold in your heart. Blessings!

  4. What an absolutely amazing post Connie - I LOVED it....Truly touched my heart - and my soul....Your photos are amazing as well....Don't know why this post didn't show up on my Dashboard when you posted it (so sorry for the delay in commenting) - but it showed up when I saw your new post today...and so very thankful I didn't miss it....Where in northern WI did you grow up? Smiles & Hugs ~ Robin

  5. I love your blog. We are practically neighbors! I have been here several times and I truly enjoy it