Not the Apple of My Eye
By Emily M. Akin –
I hate apples. Not because they were used to tempt Eve in the Garden of Eden. I hate them because I was over-exposed to them in childhood. I wouldn’t call it a traumatic experience, but it was close.
My grandmother, who lived right next door, had an apple orchard. It produced enough apples to feed all the world’s starving children and armies combined. But, we had to eat them or preserve them with no help from the rest of the world.
When apple-picking time arrived, all the kids in the family were enlisted to pick, transport and preserve the apples—thousands of them. Peeling, coring, cooking, slicing, drying—it went on for days on end. We ate apples sauced, baked, spiced, canned and chopped in salads. Apples were on the ground around the trees, in baskets on the porch, soaking in salt-water baths or waiting to be cooked. Even the top of the well house sported a layer of cored sliced apples drying in the sun.
I tried feeding some to the cows, but they were not interested. The apple orchard was also their pasture, so I guess they were tired of them too. Finally, I realized that I would be going back to school soon. The apple harvest could continue without me, and I would get a break from handling and eating apples.
On the first day of school, I picked up my lunch tray and started down the line. (Back then, you ate what they served, no picking and choosing allowed.) When I glanced down at my tray, my mouth fell open. In the little pocket on the left was Waldorf salad with little red apple peels peeking out at me. Where did they come from? Oh, no! My grandparents had sold their excess apples to the school lunch program.
Years later, when my budget was tight, I would have welcomed a basket of free apples. Why do we not to appreciate our abundance when times are good? Like the Israelites in the desert, we complain that we have too much of one thing or not enough of another (Numbers 11:4-6).
I still choose the “un-apple” when offered a choice among the fruits. And, I admit I hold some resentment in my heart for Johnny Appleseed. I mean, what motivated him to force apples on everyone? But, I’ve wised up. If apples are the only thing on the menu, I thank God for what He has provided.