I’m always amazed at the forms my time machine takes, often when I least expect it.

This time some film negatives I’d found and scanned into the computer several years ago just to see what they were, combined with a note I found on an archived CD made for a trip down memory lane to take me back to a simpler time.  So, with very little editing, here’s a story from 1996…

I spent the weekend with the kids down at my folks’ place, and made apple cider with the apples from our trees in the back yard…

The truck full of apples we took down to make Cider with.

…on a cider press that’s probably 100 years old. It used to have a hand crank, but my Grandpa at one point put an old electric washing machine motor on it and ever since I knew of it, it ground the apples into pulp at the flick of a switch.  You still had to squeeze the juice out by hand though.

Lys and Oma making Apple Cider on a cider press that was about 100 years old

After making the cider and cleaning up, and while Alyssa and Oma (German for Grandma – my mom) did only the kinds of things that granddaughters can do with their Omas, Michael and I went to what had always been my grandparent’s farm and went for a walk among the trees (douglas fir, cedar, oak), basically where I grew up.  I went for many walks out there with our dogs and BB gun when I was a kid, and often went just to think and clear my mind.

My Grandpa had passed away some years earlier, and at the time, it seemed like my grandma was planning on selling the farm, so I felt I needed to take Michael out there and show him what I used to see and where I used to go exploring before that all changed.  It was very strange, and I found myself quite disoriented sometimes.  There were trees in places in the back of the farm that had been completely free of trees before.  Areas that had been ponds no longer existed at all.  What was reality simply didn’t match up with what I had in my memory.

We came to the front of the farm and saw that my grandma was boarding some horses on the land and they came up to us and just wanted some attention (and some Apples).

Michael and the horses

So we petted them, and Michael later stood up on a stump and scratched one of them while the other one nuzzled him…  It was really neat.  It’s one of those experiences I hope will stay with him for a long time…

Michael and I explored the swamp in the back, and watched several frogs try to jump away from him, one rather large one managed to escape just as his boot stepped down.  He was as surprised as the frog was (but probably not as terrified).  We kept wandering and exploring, and saw an area where the water was too deep to be a swamp, and became a large pond.  We heard rushing water and went through a fence to find a beaver dam.  Michael had on his black and yellow “fighter fighter” boots because he “might” want to go into some water, so when he did, naturally he went in just a little too deep, and the water flooded over the top into the boots…

At that moment I decided that I had a chance to either have some fun and make a memory with my little boy and get my feet wet, or gripe about the fact that his boots and pants were wet and — it was a no brainer…

I waded into the creek in my shoes — the water was COLD (it came from, as I recall, Sprofsky Springs), and went through the swamp and then hit the beaver dam.  We later waded down the creek from right below the dam, just to explore, and got completely soaked.  He loved it.  Lost his balance, I caught him just as his bottom hit the water…

We came back, me squishing in my wet shoes, him sloshing in his wet boots, and saw this HUGE anthill and were both watching it intently when this fairly sizable spider walked into the picture.

Mistake.

Even though the ants were much, much smaller than the spider, they took it down.  It was like watching “Nature” on PBS.  Michael, who’d decided he was scared of spiders, suddenly found himself seriously rooting for this one, and was first interested, then incensed that the ants could do that to a spider.  It was truly amazing.  Michael first wanted to throw things at the ants, then thought better of it, and decided he wanted to know what ants REALLY liked to eat, and maybe he could get their attention away from the spider with that.  I thought that was nice.  He wanted to save the spider, but didn’t want to kill the ants.

Afterwards, he had a rock in his hand, and was wondering how the ants would react to it.  I thought back about 20 years, and how I’d thrown rocks at the ancestors of those same anthills, and how typical that was of a young boy.  He asked what would happen if he threw the rock, and then asked if they would attack him.  (Given what he’d just seen, that was a pretty valid question).  I didn’t say yes, but kind of let him make up his mind on his own.  He ended up dropping the rock on the ground next to the anthill, feeling some vindication because he may have killed some of the ants that had killed his new found spider friend, but also feeling good that he hadn’t killed all of them…

We sloshed and squished back to Oma’s, and ended up having some of the cider we’d made that afternoon with dinner that evening.

Eventually I packed up some of that cider, a lot of memories, and headed back home as the kids drifted off to sleep in the back of the car.

It was truly a wonderful weekend, and I went back to work on Monday morning to a job I enjoyed, a job that allowed me to support my family, but away from the trees and forests where I grew up…

Sigh…

God has been good.

Take care, folks.

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