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Sue Spitulnik

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

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Apples

An Apple A Day

I just spent a whole lot of time with my sister and her husband helping out after she had a knee replacement. It was a pleasure to be able to do it. During one breakfast we talked about our Christmas Stockings when we were kids. The toe usually held an orange or an apple. We looked forward to that piece of fruit almost more than the other small gifts from Santa.

When I was in grade school, I got a box of apples in the mail at Christmas time. They were from the man who was the postmaster in our little one block town. They were each nestled in fake straw in a cardboard thing that looked like a huge egg carton. My sisters and parents shared the apples and the shiny red ones were always eaten first.

Currently, I make a salad each morning for my husband’s lunch. When we can get fresh Empire apples he gets one of those for his afternoon snack. There’s nothing else like the first bite into a juicy red apple.

Back to my sister; her doctor’s name is David Grimm. My friend, Mary, always makes about ten different types of cookies at Christmas time and she passes out tins of them as gifts. When she delivers to Dr. Grimm’s office, because he did her knee too, she includes an apple for Dr. Grimm because he prefers it. Me, I’ll take the cookies.

Today is also National Pie Day. I recommend Apple, that way, no matter what, you can eat an apple today. Enjoy!

Applesauce Anyone?

Have you ever driven past an apple orchard when it is in full bloom?  Not only is it pretty and serene, it smells fresh and flowery.  In the fall, when the apples are weighing the branches down, begging to be picked, you can once again enjoy the scent, but this time it makes your mouth water because you can almost taste the fresh warm applesauce or feel the juice running down your chin after a crunchy bite.

When I was young, we would get a peck of apples, wash them, cut them in quarters and put them, just like that, in a pot to cook.  Not much water was added, just enough so the apples didn’t burn.  Once they were cooked to the mushy stage, we would put ladles full in a cone shape colander then use a wooden thing that looked like a one handled rolling-pin with a blunt end (I don’t know its name) to force the sauce into another pot before we canned or froze it.  This process removed all the skins, seeds and stems.  The result was a pretty pink applesauce.  No preservatives, maybe a tiny bit of sugar. It sure tasted good when we ate it warm while looking out at snow drifts.

I have had the good fortune to live near Lake Ontario in New York state and in Washington state along the Columbia Gorge where apple orchards are plentiful.  It’s fun to drive past the orchards when the apples are ripe to see the green Granny Smiths, the reds of all types, and the Yellow Delicious. Stopping at a road side stand to buy apples is a must.

In Fort Wayne, Indiana in Johnny Appleseed Park there is a grave marking the spot where the legendary sower of apple seeds rests. He was born John Chapman on September 26, 1774, in Leominster, Massachusetts.  He  was a unique man whose appearance was as interesting as his mission.  He traveled, mostly barefoot, from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin, planting apple trees, taking care of sick orchards, and doing kind acts for people along the way.  When I was in grade school we learned about this man at this time of year. 
Next time you buy a bag of apples, or buy some fresh ones at a stand, remember Johnny Appleseed and his contribution to our lives, then enjoy a bowl of warm applesauce.

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