Sunday, September 19, 2021

"The Story of Jerry Applehead"

By Jerry Zezima

According to the history books, which I used to read only before final exams, there once was an American pioneer named Johnny Appleseed, who introduced apple trees to large parts of the Midwest, where they produced fruit that personal computers were eventually named after.

An updated part of the story concerns Johnny’s disreputable cousin, Jerry Applehead, who took his wife, Sue, apple picking and littered the orchard with his stupid jokes.

Our adventure began when Sue and I drove to Lewin Farms and met Gabrielle, a very nice young woman who worked at the orchard stand.

“Would you like a basket?” she asked.

“I’m a basket case, so why not?” I answered.

“That will be five dollars,” Gabrielle said.

“Do you have change of a hundred?” I inquired.

“Yes, I do,” said Gabrielle.

“Unfortunately, I don’t have a hundred, so here’s a five,” I said, handing her the fin and taking the basket.

Then Sue and I headed out into the orchard.

The apples were, if I do say so (and I’m about to), ripe for picking. And there were plenty to choose from, mostly Mac, Gala and Honeycrisp, though the orchard also has Delicious (both Red and Golden), Royal Court, Cortland, Cameo, Rome, Fuji, Granny Smith and Stayman.

When our daughters, Katie and Lauren, were kids, we took them apple picking every year. We’ve also taken our granddaughters Chloe and Lilly. But this year, Sue and I went solo and pretty much had the place to ourselves, thanks to Sue’s brilliant idea to go during the week so we could avoid traffic that would have rivaled rush hour in New York City, otherwise known as, yes, the Big Apple.

“There are a lot of big apples here,” I said as I plucked several Macs and dropped them into the basket.

Sue, meanwhile, picked some of her favorite apples: Golden Delicious.

“You’re going for the gold,” I told her. “And I bet they’re delicious.”

I’m surprised she didn’t bop me on the head with one. At least it would have made apple sauce.

I rattled off all kinds of other apple products: apple pie, apple cobbler, apple juice, apple cider, apple butter, apple fritters, apple strudel, baked apples and candy apples.

“How do you like them apples?” I asked.

Sue looked like she needed a bottle of applejack.

When the basket was full, I lugged it back to the stand, where Gabrielle put it on a scale.

“The apples are 23 and a half pounds,” she said. “So it comes to $50.”

I searched my wallet, but I had only $40. Sue had no money.

“We only take cash,” Gabrielle said.

Another customer offered to give me 10 bucks, but I politely declined.

“There’s an ATM in the farm store,” said Gabrielle, adding that she would hold our apples until we returned.

Sue and I drove about a mile down the road, withdrew some money and drove back to the orchard, where I gave Gabrielle $50.

“Does ATM stand for apple teller machine?” I wondered.

“It should,” said Gabrielle. “We had a customer recently who said we should accept Apple Pay. And there was another customer who spent $198 on apples. He came with a dolly.”

“I guess he had his own apple support,” I remarked.

“Just ignore him,” Sue told Gabrielle.

“Why?” I said. “Because I’m rotten to the core?”

Then I asked Gabrielle what her favorite kind of apple is.

“Honeycrisp,” said Gabrielle, a recent college graduate. “They’re pretty much everyone’s favorite.”

“And they’re bright red, just like your fingernails,” I noted.

“My nails were supposed to be pink,” Gabrielle said. “But I guess red is more appropriate here.”

“I’m lucky I didn’t break a nail when I picked all these apples,” I said.

“When we get home,” Sue announced, “I’m going to make an apple crisp.”

“That sounds delicious,” said Gabrielle.

“Delicious?” I said, pointing out her inadvertent pun. “You’re catching on!”

Gabrielle smiled and said, “Thank you, guys, for brightening my day.”

“This adventure will go down in the history books,” I told Sue as we headed back to the car.

“Except for your stupid jokes,” she replied.

“In the immortal words of Donny Osmond,” I said, “one bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch, girl.”

Copyright 2021 by Jerry Zezima

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