|Once upon a time around the 1st or 2nd autumn week of October. Oops this isnt a fairy tale it's the God's honest truth! For I lived it each year until my high school days. |
Once upon a time, oh I already said that part. There stood a pile of wood, a copper kettle, a huge wooden paddle stick, jars & lids, an apple peeling machine,quite a few basket of apples, Uncle Simm, Aunt Esther, Uncle Henry, and Aunt Jolene. They were the apple peeler supervisors! And all the large family gathering to complete the task of apple butter makin. No kid peeled apples because of the sharp blades of all the knives and the machine but the kids were in charge of all the garbage and washing the apples.
This was almost as much fun as the holidays at least for the kids. This gathering consisted of 3 sisters and 4 brothers and all their families. This was their time to gather to work together, to reminisce of days gone by. The kids got to horse around with cousins they hadnt seen since the year before. This was a weekend full of activities.
The weekend began on Friday night when all gathered to peel all the baskets of apples. Usually it was the adults sittin around laughin and carryin on about events that happened since they were all together. This took most of the night and early morning. By 6;00a.m. breakfast was served to those up and ready to go to work and for those ones with one eye open the coffee was hot and strong.
The men's job was to keep the fire going and stir the pot now and then. They took up the slack when the kids got tired of helpin. The women did the ingredients and spices and placed the apples in the pot. They also had the big task of cookin lunch for all of those involved with the day's activities and those who came along during the day. Lunch consisted of Aunt Esther's homemade chili. But supper became an event all it's own.
Once the apples and spices were put into the kettle and the fire roaring and ready, the stirrin began. Each kid took their turn then after the last one the turns were began over again until the pot had been stirred till lunch time. When lunchtime was over the men and women took over the stirrin so the butter wouldnt burn. A kid now and then would drop bye and take his or her turn movin the paddle. Otherwise it was the kids' time to hang out at the creek or play in the huge barn loft.
The adults worked the butter until the right consistancy and then it would be removed from the fire and put into jars and sealed. While all the women worked to jar the apple butter the men would get this big wooden hay wagon ready with hay bales and the tractor full of gas.
Just before the big event of supper which consisted of roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire left from the day's activity. There would be a load of kids and adults heading out for the first loaded hay ride. Through fields, around the corners on dirt roads and finally the long journey home past the old country church. When the first load returned from their trip they would roast their supper. While the second load would join in the hay ridin fun. In between loads there was always someone roasting over the open fire. On every trip Uncle Simm played the fiddle and Uncle Henry played his guitar. Songs were sung and the little country side had the ringing of voices having a joyous time. Old Kerosene lanterns lit the wagon up like a Christmas tree. So if you couldn't see us comin you could surely hear us comin.
Every trip past the old country church a hymn had to be sung especially if Aunt Esther and Aunt Jolene were in the wagon. And it seemed to me Aunt Esther never did give up her spot right behind the tractor. I always swore it was her time to preach to the rest of us makin us sing our praises to Jesus when we passed that church. Not a bad thing mind you we probably needed all the preachin we could get.
After all the rides were over it was gettin late and the sweetness to the end of the day at the open fire was that it was time to make smores or better yet we would get to have the best treat of all and that was a big slice of hot homemade bread with fresh apple butter on it. My all time favorite!
It was gettin very late and all the kids were very tired and sleepin away. This gave the siblings time to really catch up on the past with mom and dad who passed on years before. To relive their childhood together as a family over on open fire. In the process of all this, they themselves created memories for all of us youngins sound asleep.
All the above an unforgetable time never lost or forgotten.
Thanks to all of us who remember!!
Lilscrapy, from MO, entered 2004-10-16