Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Peeling Apples...

Isn't it funny how certain things evoke the same memory over and over? The boys have been insisting on "Apple, no skin" lately. So as I sit over the sink, peeling the apple, I always think of my grandfather.

My Grandpa Usher used to organize these "getaway weekends" for the family. So my father, brother, mother, and I used to load up in the car (with the dogs) and head to Janesville, Wisconsin for a weekend at the Best Western Midway Motor Lodge. Doesn't sound like much to you, I'm sure, but it was ever so exciting when I was a child. My father was one of THIRTEEN children, so there were aunts, uncles, and cousins aplenty.

I would have been perfectly content to swim in the pool all day, but my grandpa had all these activities and contests organized. There were ping pong tournaments, talent shows, puzzles, and some crazy contests I'll never forget. One time he had 20 styrafoam cups, each numbered and filled with little pieces of Life Savers he had crushed up. You had to go through the line and sample each one and guess the flavor. A trophy went to the person who guessed the most correctly.

Oh yeah, the apples. There was a contest once to make the longest single apple peel. He had a pile of apples and apple peelers. I was young, I think the longest single piece of peel I came up with was 2 inches long. But I remember my mom and my aunts could peel an entire apple into one long corkscrew piece of peel. Then my grandpa carefully stretched out all these ridiculously long apple peels and declared a winner (with a trophy awarded, of course). It's taken me only 30 or so years of practice, but I'm a real pro peeler now. So when I stand at my sink peeling an entire apple in one smooth motion, I kind of wish there was a Grandpa contest to show off my skills.

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