I agreed to go apple picking with my grandmom operating under the false assumption that it would not interfere with my regular Saturday schedule. I.E. sleeping until noon. Needless to say, I was confused and ill tempered when awoke at 8am.
“Come on, slugabed- time to get up. You know what they say, the early bird catches the worm,” she said in far more perky tone of voice than any human being should be capable of at 8am on a Saturday.
I sat up, rubbed the sleep out my eyes and tried to make sense of what the hell she’d just said. I had no earthly idea what a slugabed but I gathered it wasn’t a term of endearment. And what was this about worms?
“I thought we were going apple picking?” I said blearily.
“We are silly- where do you think the bird gets the worm from?”
I thought about this for a second and couldn’t come up with any response more appropriate than “Eeewww.”
Fast forward an hour and we were in the car on the way to east bumble fart because apparently there aren’t apple orchards anywhere near where she lived. Had I know this vital piece of information I would have passed.
In spite of myself, I enjoyed the car ride. She was right- you can’t see anything worthwhile in terms of landscape unless you get the hell out of the city. And as boring of a game as 20 questions I’ve never found a more entertaining person to play it with.
We got the orchard around 10am and made our way up the hill. The apple varieties were parceled out by what you used them for: a list of sauce-making apples, a list of pie-making apples, a list of sweet, a list of tart. Gran had been an avid sauce maker since I was a baby and she’d promised me years ago that one day she would take me and show me all the tools of her trade.
We picked what seemed like a full bushel of apples and I had to get a wagon because the bin was too heavy to carry. By the time the sun past its midpoint we’d collected what seemed like a ton of apples. As much as I bemoaned the manual labor of lugging all the apples back to the car and then into her kitchen I had to admit it had been a nice outing.
She then began the process of showing me how to peel, slice and soak the apples (apparently they had to be soaked in order for the spices to set in). Then we threw them all into a huge pot on the stove and checked as the slowly simmered for seemed like an eternity.
She promised me that freshly made hot apple sauce was better than anything else in the apple kingdom I could have tasted and after an eternity she gave ma bowl and I had the chance to see for myself. I took a spoonful and blew on, somewhat trepidations about putting steaming applesauce into my mouth. I took my bite and found that my grandmother was right, it was even better than pie.
I sat there, spooning through my bowl of hot, freshly-made applesauce and I had one of those moments where you realize that you’re in a moment. A moment that means something. A moment you’ll remember. A moment that you might tell your grandkids about in another lifetime. I looked over at Gran thinking all of this and she smiled at me.