Thursday, October 19, 2006


Every family seems to have traditions--a ritual that is sacred or tied to good memories.

Living a traditional Jewish life, it can be difficult to carve out the time for other rituals; now with two little kids we can barely keep up with the preparations for Shabbat, arriving every Friday evening without fail.

Every fall we have four major holidays come our way. This year they mostly fell over weekends, combined with Shabbat and consuming our free family time in a single gulp. We haven't had an unscripted Sunday since the middle of September.

So I feared for our sacred family tradition: picking apples. From the very first fall we were married, we've gathered ourselves, traveled to an orchard in Warwick, New York, and picked a ridiculous number of apples. Some years we went ourselves; other times we had company. We've picked apples in a grey drizzle. We've been on warm, sunny days, but in other years we've needed coats and scarves. It's never exactly the same, but Taxman and I always share "sample" apples (so we know which trees to pick from), we always shun the Macintoshes as too pedestrian, and we always fill half a bag with Greenings destined to reach their fullest potential as apple crisp.

Taxman said that maybe we just wouldn't go this year. But rather than shattering into a million tiny pieces (miss AM's first year?! when Miss M could finally really have a great time?!), I just said, "Oh?"

And after all the holidays and work deadlines and sinus infections and rainy weather, we went yesterday. (Taxman took a vacation day.) It was strange to be there on a the end of the season...with my in-laws. But we were there, as a family, and everything was right with the world for just an hour. We have a crazy amount of apples lining our kitchen counter. My first apple crisp is already out of the oven.

Seven years and counting. When it comes to tradition, you just don't skip it.

Stalking the wild apple.

Leaf boy.

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