Moms Columns & Blogs

Apple Pickin' Fun (When Nature Attacks)


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Ahh October. 

Probably my favorite month.  The air starts to cool, it’s okay to watch bad horror movies, fruits like apples, pears and pumpkins abound, and perhaps you’ll even spot a handful of bats in the evening air. 

This is the month, even more so than December, when I’d love to start to create cool family memories for my daughter.  With that in mind my wife and I decided that we should take the family apple picking on Saturday.  This is something I don’t believe any of us have done- we’re admittedly “city folk” through and through, but there are apple orchards within an hour’s drive of Fourth Ward so how hard could apple picking be?

Imagine if you will, a voice narrating the trailer to one of the bad horror movies that are so fun this time of year:

“The day started out atypically.  Tempers flared over stupid things like laundry as the family rushed to get dressed and out the door to have a fun family memory.  Was the wife’s shouting akin to the fabled and feared banshee wail- a harbinger of frightening things to come?  Did our blogger really just compare his wife’s fussing to a banshee wail on a public blog?

Nevertheless, watch as our small family arrives at the Windy Hill Orchard right on time, all smiles, eager to pick apples straight off of the tree.  They laugh at the chickens running around the picnic area even though mommy has a fear of all things avian.  Things are looking good.  Darn good.

Too good.

The smiles continue as daughter gets on daddy’s shoulders to reach the apples too high for normal hands.  How cute.  How happy. 


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 How short lived.

Watch in nodding belief as the hapless family reaches the far end of the orchard, the point absolute farthest away from the main area, and the daughter exclaims, “I need to peepee!!!” I know you saw that one coming.

Mom and dad ask if she can hold it for just five more minutes.  Daughter agrees, then proceeds to play with an old broom handle she finds on the ground.

AAAAAAAARRRRRRRAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!  IT HURTS!!!!!!” the daughter screams at a volume you wouldn’t think such a small body could muster. 

Witness in sympathetic horror the grand mal freakout the daughter has as she reveals a hand full of splinters and you remember that 1) she really needs to pee and 2) the family is as far from civilization as they can possibly be.

Feel a short lived relief as the family successfully makes it to the porta-potty, screaming child in tow, and a potty accident is avoided.  Then remember that the daughter really, really likes a routine and you can neither flush a porta-potty nor does one have a place to wash your still splinter-filled hands.

Look on with curiosity at the family sitting in their car in the crowded parking lot, AC running as mommy tries to pull splinters out with the adhesive from a bandaid.  Finally the shrieking is too much and mommy suggests the daughter wear the “magical bandanna of please stop screaming and crying so we can get this freaking thing done”.  Yes, this family is quite a scene-  it must appear to bystanders that they have a hostage.

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Join the family as the tears stop they exit the car, ready to start their packed lunches.  Try not to call the DSS as mom and dad order cider before noon without realizing that it contains alcohol- I absolutely swear that this was an accidental alcohol purchase.  Mom is carded because she looks less than 20, and that was the family’s first and only tip that there was more to the cider than meets the eye.  Did dad just offset an earlier banshee comment?  I believe he may have just.  Yes, my wife looks under 20 and it's something that's difficult for me to live with but somehow I manage.

Nod in agreement as Mom and dad go to the picnic area figuring, “What the heck- we just dealt with 30 minutes of seriously shrieking three year old more than an hour from home.  If we don’t deserve a little hard cider now, then when?”

Now, hold tight.

Look through the fingers you hold over your eyes, not wanting to see, but unable to look away, as daddy gets stung on the lips by some alcoholic yellow jacket trying to get a little late morning apple hooch.

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Dread with mommy as the chickens in the picnic area become more restless after daddy gets stung and mommy tries to tend to him.  Do they smell blood?  Do they also see an opening to get a little hard cider?  Either way the crescendo of the stinging, the splinters, and the restless fowl are enough to convince this family that the best apples for them are the ones found at the Harris Teeter and it’s time to cut their losses and run.”

And that’s just what we did.  While there was nothing wrong with the orchard, I’m not sure that we’ll be going back next year.  I believe the memories we created this time around were enough to last a lifetime.  We also all agreed tonight, driving past the King’s Drive Farmer’s Market, that their pumpkin patch looked good enough for us and this year we’d pass on the country excursion to some farm with wildlife running around like they live there or something.


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