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Apple Pie, Wild Apple Pie

Like most females, she didn’t want to. Which is you see the whole darn problem. I mean the problem between us and them, no matter which side you are on; one does, the other doesn’t, for which there is no possible cure. Save – saith Will Shakespeare – but to try…romance.

Beyond this the male has no option but to be away, afield, aforest, afoot, be it horse, gun, or fish, or tractor. Leaving the female alone if that’s the way she wants it.

I do not know why my woman don’t want to but then, I’m not a woman.

It seemed reasonable to me, only a little complicated, a minor mess as messes go.

What else is to be said of this divide between male and female, the one so eager the other yet to be convinced.

Nature I have noticed can be quite prickly when it wants, it would be easier all around if it was just the way I wanted.

Apple pie, I mean; wild apple pie. To reference here the tree, a fabled family tree, the one in the corner by the machine shed. A protected little nook has this tree, which is a good thing in a northern clime when one might hope to tend apples. Here, the shed roof waters the tree well even if the summer proves short. Still, these are wild apples, not MacIntosh or Wealthies, not Sweet Williams or Duchess. What is not to love in the names that apples have? In my mama’s yard once was an apple called the Summer Banana, that is what she called it; as an apple it was not well-loved if ready for pie by early July. Despite that the Sumer Banana had a distrustful color, some found the taste unappetizing, less of apple if more mellow cedar shingle. Still, taste doesn’t matter the same when it’s a July apple on the north end of Wisconsin. Once slain like any good corpse they can be dressed up with cinnamon and sugar, add a lard crust, touch of maple sugar, and that probably toxic green banana apple pie wasn’t just fine, it was fair. You can, for the sake of science, make pie of a hay bale, birch bark too, or quackgrass. I’ve heard pine sawdust is a classic, if there are sufficient other ingredients to mitigate the result. This is what our mama did to that Summer Banana to bring her Raymond to the house on time for supper.

The wild apple by the machine shed has no name, wild it was from the start, no grafted rootstock for this old auk. Story is told of g.g.grandfather, then a boy, sent to tend the summer sheep pasture, he it was who planted the tree with his leftover core. A hungry boy to have eaten such an apple, for eating plain a wild apple turns the face upside down, the guts inside out, and curls the toes. If this was the same apple as Eve shared in the garden it ought not have been forbidden.

To her who is my wife I said, “I’d like to freeze some of those.”

“What,” she replied, “those apples? Too small, too much work.”

“But I’ll help,” I said.

I guess I said that before. Really this time I will.

“Maybe.” She said.

Romance is a totally illogical demand of Mother Nature, a waste of precious time, why can’t the female just do as I say?

Without her permission, I picked a bushel, almost, and set out to peel those apples by myself with a knife. It was the lazy end of a Sunday afternoon; peeling apples, peeling little, tiny, itsy bitsy wild apples. Soon I knew what she meant about little apples. I had nothing better to do so I kept peeling.

Eventually she joined me. By this time I had a technique down but she did it else wise. Laugh if you want but there is a logistical and scientific approach to peeling little apples. Not a silly question at all, whether it is better to peel the whole apple first and then core it, or core it then peel the quarters. I don’t remember which way I did it but it was the best way.

We’ve been married 40 years, she and I; funny what we can find to talk about on a Sunday afternoon while peeling apples. I don’t remember what but I remember talking and it was fair.

“Are we done yet?” She asked.

Few more, I thought and went for another bucket.

She changed her blouse, that nice one reserved for when Sunday afternoon tips to Sunday evening, the shadows have grown cool.

“Done yet,” she asked.

“Almost.”

“Stop,” she said.

Sometimes I do as I’m told.

. . . . .

It is midwinter now. Another Sunday and we had apple pie for supper as is one of the things I like about Sunday and the stuff we get to call supper. Like a wide slice of wild apple pie with ice cream.

The thing about a wild apple pie is right off you can tell these aren’t MacIntosh or Wealthies or Delicious or McCormick Deering. A wild apple pie bites back.

“How many pies like this do we have?”

“A dozen,” she said, “at least.”

“Oh.”