Ode to a McIntosh Apple

 
I love apples.  These McIntosh apples are my favorites.

I love apples, the tasty member of the rose family. These McIntosh apples are my favorites.

 I grasp your smooth curves eagerly between my trembling fingers.  Your skin is so brilliantly green, blushed with bright red.

You minx, how you tease me with your beauty, with the promise of your juicy sweetness.  Are you ripe? I hold you to my lips.  My teeth bite into your firm white flesh. I taste tartness, yet sugar melts into my mouth.  On my tongue I feel you crisp and firm, yet yielding, a dribble of juice on my lips. Piquant perfectly describes how you stimulate my taste buds.

So clearly, I remember the day we first met.  It was a warm early autumn day, a little overcast in a New York orchard. Everywhere, the leaves were brilliant, although yours, I must confess, were a little spotty. Leafy Autumn fire is not your glory.  No matter.  Your abundance overwhelmed me.  The pleasure of your flesh enraptured me.  I am yours forever. (Catherine L. Sherman)

An ancient apple tree holds a tree house in its stout limbs, which no longer bear fruit.

An ancient apple tree at Anita's old house holds a tree house in its stout limbs, which no longer bear fruit.

The McIntosh apple will always hold a place in my heart and in my fruit bin, when in season… My dear long-time friend Anita, her daughters and their friends took me apple picking in an orchard near her home in Binghamton.  Actually, the only picking we did was in the orchard store, but it was fun, anyway.  Children laughed on a small ferris wheel.  A tang of smoke hung in the cool air.  We inhaled the earthy fragrance of wet leaves as we shuffled through the rapidly growing leafy drifts.   Pumpkins were piled outside the store.  We chose some of those, too.  It was early October 1994.  I wasn’t there quite at the peak of the brilliant fall colors, but the forest was still a beautiful sight. 

Anita and her family lived in an historic white clapboard house near Binghamton, surrounded by massive sugar maples that were tapped every year to make maple syrup.  At the back of the yard, an ancient gnarled apple tree embraced a tree house.

The following October my father died.  Anita mailed me a box of McIntosh apples and some jugs of maple syrup.  She couldn’t have chosen better.

Anita and I can't seem to stay away from apple orchards.  Maybe we are really daughters of eve.  Here's a small orchard we stopped by in Tasmania.  We only stopped becasue I wanted a photograph. We were really in the area to see a waterfall and buy some cheese.

Anita and I can't seem to stay away from apple orchards. Maybe we are really daughters of eve. Here's a small orchard we stopped by in Tasmania. We stopped because I wanted a photograph. We were really in the area to see a waterfall and buy some cheese.

For more about the apple family, click here:  Stalking the Placid Apple’s Untamed Kin. This story is about the United States Department of Agriculture’s Plant Genetic Resources Unit, in upstate New York, which is home to the world’s most extensive collection of apple varieties and relatives.  Closer to my home in Kansas City, Powell Gardens showcases Missouri’s finest apple varieties in its Apple Celebration Court.

 John Keats’ “Ode to an Nightingale” inspired me to write this ode, which technically is not an ode, but does praise and glorify a subject.  “Bright Star,” a movie about Keats, was very good. See it!

A scan of my photograph of an area near Binghamton, New York, when the trees are starting to turn.

A scan of my photograph of an area near Binghamton, New York, in October 1994, when the trees are starting to turn. (In the dark ages before digital cameras...)

About these ads

10 Comments

Filed under Agriculture, Food, Friendship, Gardening, History, Life, Nature, Personal, Travel

10 responses to “Ode to a McIntosh Apple

  1. What a wonderful essay, Cath. I now have a craving for apple cider. Did you know I grew up in Binghamton? This is getting weird !!! How many degrees of separation? Hmm …

  2. hehe, when i saw “macintosh” and “Apple” i thought you were talking about the computer company! :P

  3. Sandy

    I loved this story! We had an apple tree in our backyard until lightening struck it down. I still remember making apple crisp for the neighbor kids and mine if they picked the apples.

  4. Is it sick and wrong if the opening to your post made me a little excited?

    For the last six months or so I have made it my habit to eat an apple a day. Every day. Red Delicious usually seems to be the most marginal in terms of quality. Fuji variety is better but more expensive.

    I don’t recall seeing many McIntosh apples, however. I’m not sure if they’ve been there and didn’t catch my eye or watch. Next time I’m in the store I’ll look for them.

    To me, apples have at least one thing in common with potatoes. “They” tell you which variety is supposed to be used to what kind of purpose. This kind is good for eating, that kind is better for cooking, sauce, pie, juice, apple butter, etc. I like trying them all and simply enjoying them.

    Thanks for expanding my mind about McIntosh. I look forward to exploring one soon.

  5. alwaysjan

    Okay, as a teacher I’m always given apples, when in fact, I’d rather have cherries. That said, when we lived in Port Townsend, outside Seattle, I was amazed to see huge apples growing on trees that didn’t even come up to my armpits. The branches bowed under the weight of the apples, but it was picture perfect. (Just like your pictures.)

  6. Carolina Maine

    I love your ode! I love apples too. I used to pick them from our trees when I was little. I really like the photo of the treehouse in the old apple tree–that is very nice.

  7. I knew there was something I liked about you. Sharing a passion for apples must be it! My current favorite is honey crisp. Slightly tart. Very juicy. But after reading your post, I’ll have to add macintosh to the shopping list! Thanks for your ode.

  8. See what Bright Star can do for us! Your Ode is wonderful, the imagery so vivid. But what you have that Keats didn’t though, are digital photography and blogging. I’m sure he’d take to them right away if he’d had the chance!

  9. At last I’ve got here and managed to tear myself away from tweeting! A curse…
    What a lovely story and a wonderful ode Cathy. I love it and I love your photos too.
    This year we’re short of apples, but the pear tree is bowed down with fruit, small, but tasty.

  10. I love McIntosh apples! They are by far my favorite, and I just had the best one of my entire life when I was in New England. You couldn’t get better flavor. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

    Yes, they ought to be XXX rated, they are so delicious! I’m sure they’re the apple that Eve ate, because it bites you back a little bit. Cathy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s