Sunday, October 21, 2007

Americana

Yesterday Michelle and I went to Stoney Ridge Farm with a group of our friends. It was one of several experiences I’ve had since moving to Washington State that have been quintessentially American. Born of American parents but growing up in Canada I’ve never really been able to relate to Norman Rockwell paintings or Readers Digest articles. Yesterday, all I knew was we were going to pick a pumpkin right out of the field and then come back and carve it. I asked Michelle how long we’d be gone, thinking it would probably take me 15 minutes tops to pick and harvest a pumpkin. Little did I know, it was all about the experience. The farm has all kinds of things to do. We took a hay wagon out to the pumpkin field right away – after all that’s why we came. As advertised, we found a field full of pumpkins, an apple orchard full of fruit, and a corn maze. We wound our way first through the corn maze, then picked out a bag of right-off-the-tree apples (I ate one right then and there – they’re free if you eat them in the orchard), and finally we scoured the pumpkin patch for the perfect pumpkin (Michelle had spotted it from the wagon). Later, after paying for our farm fresh produce, we proceeded to the ranch house-turned café for fresh caramel apple pie and fresh pumpkin pie. So good! By this time I was reveling in my all American Saturday, and suggested we get the apple cider donuts to top it off – after all, what’s more American than being stuffed full of great food? Later we previewed the Christmas trees and checked out the farm animals. It was a cool day, and I really felt like I was experiencing an American tradition – the harvest.

Earlier this summer for Memorial Day the town of Ferndale, where Michelle’s parents live, lined main street with American Flags. Ferndale IS the American town. Main street crosses a little river and then intersects 1st, 2nd, and 3rd avenues, and that’s about it – my Brother-in-law lives in a little house just past 3rd avenue. When I’m out on Saturday mornings at garage sales in Ferndale I can’t help thinking the very same thing is happening in literally thousands of small towns across the US. Americana also came to me when I spent a Saturday morning repairing Michelle’s rear drum brakes. I stopped at the Ferndale auto parts store to pick them up, then headed up to my father-in-law’s place. We spent several hours taking apart and then rebuilding the brakes in the driveway. Again, I felt the warm feeling that I was participating in a great tradition – that millions have had this experience, many were having it that very day, and many would have it in the future. There’s something about these activities that unites Americans in the city and in the country, in the east, west, north, and south, on the coast, in the mountains and on the plains. It’s a neat feeling to be a part of something bigger than myself and to share a heritage with so many…

If you’ll excuse me I need to peel and slice some freshly picked apples for an apple pie – what could be more American?

2 comments:

Kalev Hinrich said...

Haha, I went to a local farm for the first time a few weeks ago to pick apples with Ashley. The apple season was pretty much over, though, and they were having a pumpkin festival thing. It was strange. I was raised in America, and it was confusing to me . . . but it was fun too.

karen ott said...

Great writing!! Even better the photo of your beautiful bride. Great reflections and thought provoking insights Karen