What makes a fond childhood memory? Favourite people? Familiar places? Scents that take us back in an instant?
For me, it’s all those things. And said favourites usually included my siblings. Because well, I have a lot of them – we were a crowd on our own. And as for places, fields to frollick in were right up there. I remember games of ‘Crocodile, Crocodile’ and hours of exploring and the scent of pine burning in the woodstove. It burnt too quickly but the aroma was good.
Recently I spent some time with another family that made me smile, “…yes, a crowd!”
A set of grandparents. Four grown children with their spouses. Then the third generation. Or if we count-in “Grandpa Yeomans” who makes an appearance at the steering wheel of the tractor with the Yeomans men, the little ones are the fourth generation.
The main magnet at Greenhill Orchard in Arding is usually the packing shed with the sweet apples perfuming the crisp cool-room air. I have been many times before.
This time though, the story is different. It is not my story, but theirs.
The sound of happy chatter greets upon arrival. I squeeze past mothers with babies in their arms and follow Bronwyn to her cosy kitchen where she lifts a teatowel and reveals freshly-baked apple muffins.
Little ones and bigger children follow us and are soon taking turns at rotating the apple spiraliser. Grandma has donned her apple apron and overlooks the turn-taking and passes around pieces of the prized fruit.
Next there is a quick roll call just near the flowering dahlias. Then finally the orchard – where the branches bow low with fruit nearly ready to harvest and round apples tempt the children.
To complete the scene, along comes a few impressive, old, metal ladders, some timber crates and the farm tractor bearing a bin of rosy red apples.
Everyone was dressed in their Sunday best in soft hues. It was a Sunday afternoon, after all.
And there they laid out the picnic rug. In the center were grandma’s oh-so-delicious-muffins made for the occasion.
The ladders leaning against one of trees at the beginning of the long rows were put to good use with children and fathers Tom and Henry scaling them. I cannot promise that the following pictures show a truthful representation of how apples are harvested. 😉
But I can assure you that the little ones filled baskets and crates with fallen fruit, sampled half a dozen or more and all chattered with delight. Need I mention the laughter?
And just as in my special memories, here too was a field for frollicking through. Ring’a’rosy with new words I had not before heard and a walk that was half a race and half, tug-of-war. From behind my camera I saw, no, I felt the way all soaked up the wonder-fullness of being together in a happy place.
Finally the sun dipped below the treeline. There were smiling goodbyes and warm hugs. That contentment everyone feels at the close of a day filled with good things. A day the children will remember. And they won’t just have their memory to supply all the details.