A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.
When I was a kid, our yard had many old, old apple trees leftover from an equally old apple orchard. I’m sure at one time these trees were useful but for me and my brothers and sisters, we really disliked those trees.
Every year, those old trees would smell so sweet in the springtime. They teased us with the sweetest aroma! The blossoms would be white and pink and smell like what I imagined heaven to smell like. Then, within a few weeks, those beautiful blossoms would turn into little green orbs.
When the tiny orbs started to grow bigger, those small green apples became weapons in the hands of my brothers. When I least expected, I’d feel one hit the back of my head, or zing my shoulder or worse than any other spot, my cheeks. I often had bruises on my face because my brothers were strong and could land a tiny apple with speed and precision.
Then in due season, those old good-for-nothing apple trees produced not just weapons but full-sized fruit, which always matured into small, worm-infested apples that fell to the ground. It was then we really, really disliked those little pieces of no-good fruit. Every year it was the job of the little kids, which included me, a sister and two brothers, to pick up those slimy, rotten, worm-infested apples to get the rot out of the yard. Did I mention rotten apples attract bees? We disliked the bees almost as much as we disliked those apples.
Yet all these things happened when I was just a kid. I’ve grown up now. All I have left of those trees are the memories. My sister and brothers, the “littles”, are the only ones left living to remember the trees. And when we get together and memories of those trees come up, we laugh until we cry, at all the complaining we did about those trees and the bruises and the slime and the bees.
With the laughing comes other memories. We remember our parents who loved us but also told us to get out and pick up those apples. We remember how they loved each other and by us “littles” being out of the house, they stole a few moments alone. We may have not known it as a kid but now we look back as grownups and realize the lesson they taught us. They taught us to love our spouses by the lesson of picking up those rotten apples.
And I remember the apple pies our mom would make out of what I saw as garbage. I didn’t know back as a kid, but as a grownup, I now know that my mother also picked up apples. She turned those apples into gold…a golden crust on a delicious pie to feed her family of eight.
We were not a rich family with extra money. We didn’t have silver or gold. Always, for Thursday supper before payday, we had pancakes. And with pancakes, a side of applesauce. I now realize, what I thought of as slimy, good-for-nothing apples my mother saw as sustenance. She knew how to turn apples into food for her family.
Time has long passed that I have had a mother or father here on earth. But if I could, I would return to those moments, times I complained of having to go out and pick up slimy apples, and instead of complaining, I would choose to tell my parents how much I love them. I would say “Thank You for all you did, the lessons you taught me in your silent ways. The lessons you taught are like apples of gold on a silver platter.”
1 ½ cup Chunky Applesauce
½ cup White Sugar
½ cup Brown Sugar
¼ cup Oil
¼ cup Milk
1 tsp Vanilla
2 cups Flour
1 Tsp Baking Soda
½ tsp Baking Powder
½ tsp Salt
1 ½ tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
In large mixing bowl, add all liquid ingredients and blend well.
In a separate mixing bowl, add all dry ingredients and stir well.
Add liquid ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients. Mix until no lumps remain. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for about one hour. Check for doneness using a toothpick stuck in the middle. If the pick comes out clean, the bread is done. If not, continue baking for 5 minutes and check again. Repeat if necessary.
Remove from the oven. Cool for ten minutes, then remove from pan and place on wire rack to continue cooling.