Monday, October 12, 2009

Apple Butter in Pennsylvania!

This weekend my husband and I traveled to a small town in East Central Pennsylvania, near Gettysburg, to make applebutter with the church ladies (and men!) at my husband's brother's church.

Thare are so many things I could talk about in this blog. First, making applebutter is kind of cool. LOL Second, everywhere you walk in that part of the state you find yourself face-to-face with history. Their little church is historic. The cemetary beside it is amazing. The farmland has been has been passed down from one generation to the next.

But the most important, most fun part of the experience for me was the people. As the men stirred the apples simmering in huge kettles outside, the women prepared a lunch of homemade soups. (I had the beef vegetable!) Three vendors sold their goods near the eating area. One had knitted and crocheted items, jewelry and little purses. (I bought my daughter two scarves.) Another had framed photographs. The third had handmade flower arrangements.

I worked in the far corner at the bake sale. The church ladies had been slaving away for days baking pies, (I bought cherry) and apple dumplings (I bought two). But individually they'd baked everything from cupcakes and cookies (I got the gingerbread) to peanut butter fudge (yes, I bought some of that too).

By now you're probably noticing a pattern. I spent a lot of money that day! LOL

We got there around eight and prepared the bakesale for the crowd that would be arriving around nine. We made pretty displays of cookies and cupcakes, pies and apple dumplings, fudge and pumpkin bread. When everything was packaged and displayed for sale, I asked how much we were to charge and was shocked to discover you could get a cupcake with a piece of candy corn on top for $.25. A quarter.

I said, Are you kidding? In the city we'd sell this for seventy-five cents and they looked at me as if I were insane and said, Who would pay $.75 for a cupcake? (The crazy people who live in the city and don't bake! LOL)

They were great, witty, fun companions all day as we began to realize the difference between this city mouse and those country mice. By the end of the day I'm sure most of them genuinely believed I didn't know the value of a dollar! LOL And I wished with all my heart and soul that I could bake about half as well as any one of them.

We ate soup and talked about kids...whose problems, by the way, are universal. What school to go to, how to handle bullies, worries that they'll maintain good grades, get a part in the school pay, pick the right mates. We talked about husbands...and, let me tell you there are no more honest wives than a group of church women waiting for bake sale customers. We sold fresh-in-the-jar applebutter to people who'd driven miles just for a jar of warm, cinnamony delight.

The sun was warm. A breeze rippled through the orange and yellow leaves on the trees surrounding the old cemetary beside the church. Good moods abounded.

It was probably the last little festival of the year. Thanksgiving and Christmas will soon be upon us all so everyone's attention will be drawn to more spirital matters as they plan and prepare their own family celebrations. So everyone seemed to take the time to just smell the applebutter sputtering in the copper pot and share a few minutes with friends and neighbors.

No matter how much I love living in my small city, being beside Walmart (not right beside but close enough to get milk at 5:45 if I want to) and not having to walk down a lane to get my mail, I thoroughly enjoyed that weekend in the country, with good people, fresh apple butter for saltines, warm, wonderful homemade soup and warm, wonderful people!

susan meier


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