fishing for words

(and tossing out random thoughts)

fun with family, apples, wine and birds

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There’s nothing like family gatherings and a trip to apple country to turn a weekend into a barrel full o’ fun, and make it rush by in no time at all.

My lookalike devastatingly handsome cousin Bill and his wife Laura (and dogs Meika and Eugene) rolled into town in The GRYWHL on Friday. To hear Laura tell it, the familial visit was a ruse, but I’ll take that as a compliment to the staggering number of attractions in our immediate area; namely wineries and birds. And a few wineries named after birds, I’m sure.

The wife and I set out the everyday dishes – the fact that we set out dishes at all is an honor itself – and enjoyed a tremendous dinner and conversation. The wife outdid herself with a home-baked version of store-bought rotisserie chicken with the always welcome mashed potatoes. The visit also served to reinforce the similarities between Bill and me. That’s not a bad thing. Rest assured, it’s a compliment to be compared to someone so handsome, steadfast and just an all-around good egg.

Saturday our two groups took separate paths in pursuit of beverages – wine and beer for Bill and Laura and apple cider and related concoctions for us. A visit to Apple Hill is a 15-year-plus tradition for me, and no fall seems complete without a taste of apple cider straight from the press. We mixed it up a bit this year, arriving early enough to make apple cider doughnuts a part of our morning repast. This was followed by obligatory visits to a few other orchards, crammed full of craftsfolks and their wares, tubs of apples, refrigerators full of cider, and piles of baked apple goods. A heavy discount prompted my picking up a carved trout that will become part of my future fly tying room. And the wife got her world’s-best corndog for lunch. Throw in four gallons of cider, and you’ve got a great day.

In typical family fashion, Sunday centered around food. In an attempt to overwhelm offer Bill and Laura an opportunity to also meet my sister and her family, a group dinner was in the offing that evening, with plenty of visiting beforehand. My sister’s family – including my now-all-too-tall nephew – arrived in the early afternoon, after the rest of us had time to lounge, watch a bit of football and rave about our respective Saturdays. Though not said directly, I think that even Laura was a bit astounded at the sheer number of wineries only 20 minutes from our doorstep. And it may be a safe bet that if Bill can work it out, they’ll be back with motorcycle in tow.

Dinner was a simple affair of make-it-yourself tacos, but sharing extended family time was the main part – and most enjoyable – of the meal.

But mostly, it’s a great thing to have weekends consumed by family and fun. Eventually, Monday initiates the humdrum workweek (except for those retired or traveling without a firm itinerary in a big RV), and the weekend seems all the more cherished.

P.S. Bill and Laura, thank you for the goodies and thanks for stopping! Hope you have a safe trip further south (and enjoy a visit to the Jelly Belly factory today).  We’ll be watching your blogs…


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